We all want to see more “shovel ready” projects come out to bid in our area. The City of Santa Rosa has had a big “influx” of dollars to spend on capitol improvement projects through stimulus funding, PG & E settlement dollars, FEMA reimbursement for fires, and delays in getting “normal” funded projects out on the street to bid and build. The influx of dollars does not do a lot of good unless we see those projects (that now have funding) be designed, contract docs created and bid proposals get developed, staff the projects for project management and engineering support, and put them out to bid and inspect them.
That is not happening fast enough. Not for my liking, and not for the City’s liking.
The reasons for the “bottleneck” are multi-faceted. I want to be very clear that I am not being critical of the City of SR or any entity. My effort in looking into this bottleneck relies on the following:
1. Is there a lag in getting projects out? YES
2. Is that lag going to cost the City of SR dollars as projects are delayed due to prices/costs escalating in the short term? YES
3. Is there some way the ECA can help by identifying the issue, discussing possible actions that could “speed up” the process, and achieve the sole goal of getting more CIP’s out on the street quicker? PERHAPS.
It is my goal to invite some key people from the City of SR to a “workshop” that has a collaborative, rather than a “blaming” attitude about it. My “vision” of this workshop, is to provide a forum where the City is comfortable identifying some of the issues that have led to the “bottleneck”, hear from some of the contractors who regularly work with the City, and have a speaker well versed in Design Build Public Private partnering efforts that could see a role in relieving some of the lag in getting CIP work on the street more quickly.
I have started conversations with the City of SR and started early conversations with contractors to see if there is interest in participating in a workshop to identify issues that could help. So far both the city and the one contractor I have spoken with are encouraging me. I have also spoken with two engineers familiar with the CIP “flow” and they are interested. Look-there are tremendous resources within the ECA and I think it is our responsibility to make this effort. I hope you agree with me.
The tentative date for this first workshop is October 19, 2021, from 12 noon to 2pm. This workshop would be the setting for our final General Membership Meeting for the ECA. This date is our normal Board of Directors meeting date and time, and the workshop would take the place of that October Board meeting. Normally, we would have an in-person meeting, and we would charge a nominal fee to cover lunch costs, we would seek out a sponsor, and the result would be that the ECA would pick up a few dollars to cover our overhead. We still need to do all of that, but the Board voted last Tuesday to do this last GMM virtually. There is a positive in that we can record the meeting, and anybody can go back and hear something that was said by rewinding the taped portion of the meeting. That can enable us to share the meeting ideas/conclusions/comments with someone that could not attend. I hope you will all agree that there is value to that, and you will not be upset that we are charging a fee for participation. With the pandemic restricting our attendance at events so drastically, frankly-we need the dollars! So, if you are interested in being the sponsor for this GMM, please contact me directly so we can discuss your interest and whether you would want to sponsor solely or with another firm to share the sponsorship. Rest assured; this meeting will be a popular one for many that work for the municipalities that share in some of what the City of SR is experiencing that has led to the CIP bottleneck. So, a sponsorship will be seen and have some significant exposure (more than usual).
My timeline is to create an outline of the workshop in the next 4-6 business days, review it with several possible speakers with the City of SR, and “tweak” it from their review. Once “tweaked”, I will consult quickly with one or more contractors and engineers and then take the final outline to the design build partnering consultant. That process should then set the agenda, identify the number and the “who” are the speakers, and develop the flyer. I hope that process is complete in the next 15 business days (or less), so any sponsorship needs to be committed to in the next two weeks.
Let’s do this people! We can make a difference.
That’s All Folks