PATERSON, NJ - The City Council last week voted to award a $24,000 contract to a Philadelphia-based architecture firm to help develop design guidelines for the downtown historic district.

Preservation Design Partnership's price was actually the highest among the five firms that submitted proposals. But the difference in the prices was not that great, with the lowest being $23,000 and the three others ranging from $23,850 to $23,988.

Under state law, government entities do not have to take the lowest price for professional services like architectural work.

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Councilman Kenneth Morris, chairman of the community development committee, said the city's historic staff highly recommended Preservation Design Partnerships.