NEOSHO, MO.--- The State of Missouri has changed the prevailing wage law, and now a Southwest Missouri school district is taking advantage of the new rules. Normally, the state requires a minimum wage for public construction projects, often a total that's higher than for private projects.
"Someone's got to be first, and perhaps this will be the first project to use the new prevailing wage law," said Mike Franks, NABIFI Executive Director for Economic Development.
In 2013, Missouri state lawmakers changed the prevailing wage law. For the Neosho School District, that means a chance for construction projects to reflect local costs, instead of the potentially more expensive prevailing wage.
"A contractor for roofing might use a $25 or $28 an hour, where historically in that area a $20 an hour is the normal fee that is paid," said Franks.
Some are calling it an experiment, but as long as the law stays in effect, it will help lower construction costs.
"So the result of it is, by using a more local base standard, you could get more bang for your buck. It could cost you less to build something than it would by using a state-wide base prevailing wage," said Franks.
Neosho schools are already taking advantage of this law.
"Most of our summer projects, they fall within local and state money projects. So anything we do with our local and state money on summer projects, we won't have to do the prevailing wage," said Dan Decker, Neosho Superintendent.
Non-prevailing wage also means the schools will be saving money for future projects. Superintendent Dan Decker says it's also good for local businesses in Neosho.
"Opens up opportunity for local businesses and also opens up some opportunities for those firms that aren't maybe as big as firm," said Decker.
Neosho schools are hoping this law change will help effluence voters to vote for the new junior high that will be on the April ballot.
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