Lucas County now has a local preference in its bidding procedure, though vendors from Michigan, Kentucky, Indiana, Pennsylvania, and West Virginia can benefit from it as well.
The policy commissioners unanimously adopted yesterday gives a bidder from Ohio or an adjacent state as much as a 5 percent advantage over a vendor from the other 44 states.
County Administrator Michael Beazley said such a broad definition of "local" was all that is allowed under state law. "This is a small edge," Mr. Beazley said.
Cities and other municipalities in Ohio sometimes include local preferences in their bid specifications, giving local contractors an advantage even if their bids come in higher than those from other cities.
But Mr. Beazley said state law prohibits county governments from adopting such a preference, allowing only a broad, regional preference.
Tens of millions of dollars are left to be bid out in the Lucas County arena project.
"We're going to do everything we can to see that the money stays in Toledo," Commissioner Pete Gerken said.