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UAC to review utility contract
The city’s Utility Advisory Committee will take a look at the $85,000 contract that has been recommended by the administration for a utility business advisor before council votes on it next month.
GHD Inc. was chosen by the administration to fulfill the proposed contract, which consists of hiring a consultant to evaluate strategic options for the long-term ownership, governance, operations and financing of the city’s water utility.
The city’s proposal includes a draft of the scope of work and cost estimates for the study. UAC members will review the contract and return their comments to the city administration and council next month.
The contract asks the consultant to identity and evaluate all potential options for the city in terms of transferring, selling or contracting the water utility, as well as an analysis on the financial impact to both the ratepayers and the city. It addresses operational questions and the identification of potential legal issues.
Interim City Manager Brenda Bauer said there will be a detailed schedule of work, and she wants to see the project completed in the first quarter of 2011. The contract is issued through Dec. 31 2012, but Bauer expects the work to be done in 90 -120 days.
The three GHD employees who will be involved in the project have expertise in the management of a water utility in King County, public works design and management, city engineering and city finance.
Gary Bourne of GHD said the company plans to approach the project with an open mind to any and all of the options available to Bainbridge.
“We want to figure out the facts, truths, issues and lend you our years of experience to what we see might happen under one condition or another,” said Bourne.