On Thursday, Managing Partner Doug Moul said he was disappointed the council didn't take into account the firm's standing as a good corporate citizen.
Over the years, the firm has contributed to city events, local charities and renovated a downtown building next to City Hall, Moul said. The firm, which has outgrown its offices, needs to build a new office building and may go outside city limits to avoid $20,000 in city property taxes, he said.
Councilman J. Wallace McClure wanted Albright Crumbacker to be rewarded for being a good corporate steward. He said the council exercised its discretion in the past to award a contract to someone other than the low bidder - at least once to an out-of-town firm over a local firm.
In this instance, Councilman Lewis Metzner said the cost difference was too much to ignore.
Metzner added that if the city adopts a local preference policy, out-of-town businesses could stop bidding and prices could go up.
Mayor Robert E. Bruchey II said a vehicle contract once was awarded to a Hagerstown dealership, despite a bid $200 lower from a Greencastle, Pa., dealership.
The owner of the Greencastle dealership told the mayor he would never again bid on a city contract and hoped the prices skyrocketed, Bruchey said.
Council members Metzner, William Breichner and Alfred Boyer voted to give the contract to Wooden & Benson. McClure and Susan Saum-Wicklein cast votes in opposition.
City Administrator Bruce Zimmerman said the next administration may wish to discuss a local preference option, but this council had already reviewed the issue.
Zimmerman said the city's bid process has integrity, though it does result in some "awkward" or "difficult" decisions at times.