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Mayor Tim Keller’s ‘Buy Local’ Efforts Highlighted as National Model

Albuquerque’s strategy kept $1 million more in local economy, demonstrates how cities can ‘invest in what works.’

January 7, 2019

Mayor Tim Keller today announced that a national organization, Results for America (RFA) highlighted Albuquerque’s work to keep taxpayer dollars in the local economy. The local government case study is part of a series that showcases the best strategies by cities to address major concerns in their communities. The case study focuses on the Mayor’s efforts to use the purchasing power of the City to help boost the local economy by contracting with local vendors.

“Local governments make millions of dollars worth of purchases a year. We wanted to maximize that impact by keeping those dollars in the local economy,” said Mayor Tim Keller. “So far, we’ve shifted at least twenty contracts to local vendors, keeping an additional $1 million in our economy. Business owners tell us what a difference it makes and they in turn buy more of their supplies locally, create jobs in our community, and give back to our city. Money that would otherwise be leaving our state is now staying here in Albuquerque.”

The study was led by Brittany Ortiz, an RFA Local Government Fellow who chose the strategy from her work as the City of Albuquerque’s Deputy Director of the Office of Equity and Inclusion. Ortiz is a member of the City’s multi-departmental team responsible for using data and evidence-based strategies to increase local spending. The team consists of the Mayor’s Office, the Economic Development Department, the Office of Equity and Inclusion, the Department of Finance and Administrative Services and the Procurement Division.

The RFA case study highlights how cities can “invest in what works”:

  • The Challenge: An estimated $150 million to $300 million is being spent annually by Albuquerque city government to purchase goods and services, and at least 40% of those funds were spent on non-local vendor contracts in 2017. 
  • The Approach: Mayor Keller prioritized growth of Albuquerque’s economy through a “Buy Local” initiative. The Mayor challenged the City to systematically shift a greater amount of city government’s purchasing from non-local to locally-owned businesses in an effort to help boost the local economy. 
  • The Results: The RFA case study found that the City of Albuquerque has shifted at least 20 contracts from non-local to local vendors resulting in an additional $1 million directly invested back into Albuquerque’s economy. The City has created 65 new contracts with local vendors since July 2018.
  • Next steps: The administration will prioritize implementation of the “Buy Local” initiative into other large procurement sectors like construction and food vendors. The City will continue to systematically track this data to inform its economic development policies.

“The ‘Buy Local’ initiative is showing signs of great success,” said Brittany Ortiz. “We will continue to collect and track data to make sure that our economic development policies are working for our communities, especially businesses owned by women and people of color.”

With the support of RFA, local governments can move toward advanced stages of data-driven and evidence-based policymaking in order to address major policy challenges in their communities. 

Find  Albuquerque’s case study here: https://results4america.org/wp-content/uploads/2018/12/AlbuquerqueCaseStudy_FINAL.pdf

Find the entire series of case studies here: https://results4america.org/local-government-fellowship-case-studies/