The Logan Municipal Council, which often reminds residents of the importance of shopping locally, is now facing criticism for hiring a Brigham City firm to handle city audits.

A letter and petition signed by 26 residents criticized the council for recently selecting the low bid of Wiggins & Co. over several local accounting firms."We have listened for the past several years to the plea from city officials and businesses to shop locally and keep money in the valley, but it appears that shopping in Logan applies to everyone else, not city officials, who should practice what they preach," the letter stated.

The council addressed the petition Friday night but agreed to stay with the Brigham City firm because its bid was substantially lower than any of the other companies' offers.

Council Chairman Fred Deursch said the council would normally award the contract to a local firm if it came within 5 percent of the low bid. But in this case, the bid was $11,300 - 25 percent less than the next lowest bid, he said.

"I think it's part of our fiscal responsibility not to spend that much extra money just to keep it in-house," he said.

Councilman Richard Thomas said as immediate past president of the Downtown Business Association, he has been as vocal as anyone in encouraging people to shop in Logan.

But "the real issue here is at what point a council is accountable for its stewardship of public funds," he said. "I would expect people to shop out of town if they could get something 25 percent cheaper. If we would have awarded the higher bid, the bidding process would have ceased to have validity."