A. Applicability. The small business preference program applies to procurements by the Department of Transportation, the Department of General Services, the University System of Maryland, and Morgan State University.
(1) Designation of Small Business Preference Contracts. The Secretaries of General Services and Transportation, the Chancellor of the University System of Maryland, and the President of Morgan State University or their designees shall screen all procurements potentially eligible for a small business preference and shall determine which of those procurements shall be made under these procedures and the percentage preference to be applied. The determination shall be based on the availability of qualified, certified small businesses and other appropriate factors.
(2) Solicitation Notice.
(a) A published solicitation for a procurement designated for a small business preference shall include a statement that the procurement has been so designated and shall indicate the price preference percentage to be applied. A designated price preference may not exceed a base percentage preference of 5 percent of the total contract value. A 2 percent preference may be added to the base percentage preference for veteran-owned small businesses and a 3 percent preference may be added to the base percentage preference for disabled-veteran-owned small businesses.
(b) The small business preference notice contained in the solicitation shall be substantially as follows:
Small Business Preference (base percentage preference of 5 percent unless otherwise provided)
This procurement has been designated for a small business preference under COMAR 21.11.01.05. The procurement agency will accept the most favorable responsive bid from a responsible small business (COMAR 21.01.02.01B(80)) if the bid of the small business does not exceed the most favorable responsive bid received from a responsible bidder who is not a small business by: (1) more than 5 percent; (2) more than 7% for a veteran-owned small business; (3) more than 8% for a disabled-veteran-owned small business; or (4) the percentage otherwise identified in the solicitation as the small business preference.
(3) Direct Solicitation. When soliciting bids for a procurement designated for a small business preference, the procuring unit shall send a solicitation or notice of the solicitation to all certified small businesses for the subject of the contract contained on the Governorís Office of Small, Minority, and Women Business Affairs Certified Small Businesses List. When soliciting bids under the small business preference program, others selected from the business community at large, including certified minority business enterprises, shall also be solicited.
(4) Evaluation. When a procurement under COMAR 21.05.02 has been designated for a small business preference, the procurement officer shall accept the most favorable responsive bid from a responsible small business if the bid does not exceed the most favorable responsive bid price received from a responsible bidder that is not certified as a small business by:
(a) More than 5 percent;
(b) More than 7 percent for a veteran-owned small business;
(c) More than 8 percent for a disabled-veteran-owned small business; or
(d) The predetermined percentage preference.
(5) Reporting. The Departments of Transportation and General Services, the University System of Maryland, and Morgan State University shall submit a report on the Small Business Preference Program annually as required under COMAR 21.13.01.03A.