Metro Council will weigh whether to adopt disparity study

The Metro Council on Wednesday will decide whether to formally adopt the city of Baton Rouge’s disparity study.

Specifically, the legislation—brought forth by Mayor Sharon Weston Broome’s office—aims to adopt the report as a way to assist in the implementation of a city-parish program to help grow and develop socially and economically disadvantaged small businesses.

The move comes three years after Broome inked a $300,000 deal with Denver-based Keen Independent Research to conduct the disparity study in 2018.

The study found that only 4% of the approximately $2.4 billion in city-parish contract dollars from January 2013 through September 2017 went to minority and/or women-owned firms, while just 1% went to veteran-owned businesses.

Several months ago and following a recommendation from Keen’s report, Broome announced the launch of Baton Rouge’s first-ever Disadvantaged Business Enterprise certification program, which allows these businesses to receive a key designation in procurement and contracts with local government. The program also allows businesses to qualify for contracts with the Baton Rouge Metropolitan Airport and BREC with the same joint certification.

The council will take up the matter during its regular meeting Wednesday at 4 p.m. Read the full legislation, or check out the full disparity study.