Small Businesses Struggling After City Work Dries Up

The bright orange color is a sign of alarm, a caution from the people doing the work to watch out. But now, some of those people doing the work are having to watch out themselves.

"It's a state of panic," said small business owner David Collins.

Last year his construction company employed 27 people, today he's down to 7.

"Once that utilization goal left and the program was suspended, zero phone calls," he said.

He's referring to the Bridge program which used to require large companies to divvy out some of their work to smasmallsinesses, used to.

"We can't do it the way we had been because it was race based," said Dwain Midget with the city of Tulsa.

So now, many of those larger companies are simply doing the work themselves.

"We're not getting used," said Kori Disney.

Her trucking company has seen the brakes put on business.

"I normally get 4 to 6 bid requests a day and I'm down to one in a week," she said.

Small business owners are hoping the city will get things back on track by swapping out the minority clause with a small business clause.

"We are working to address this issue as quick as we can," said Midget.

In the meantime, city officials are hoping those big companies will turn the revenue faucet back on for the little guys.

"If companies were really serious about showing a good faith effort, they would not need to do what you're talking about, they would just say 'If these people are good enough for me to use when we thought we had to then it should be good enough for me to use until we figure out what the problem is,'" he said.