Meeting Date:                  May 5, 2021Agenda No.                      Item 5.1Agenda Item Title:           City of Sonoma Municipal Service Review Contract Award

Meeting Date: May 5, 2021
Agenda No.: Item 5.1
Agenda Item Title:
City of Sonoma Municipal Service Review Contract Award
Environmental Determination: Not a project under CEQ
Staff Contacts: Mark Bramfitt



The City of Sonoma (“City” or “Sonoma”) has requested that the Commission conduct a Municipal Service Review to evaluate service provision within the City. The City is not seeking any amendment to its existing Sphere of Influence (“SOI”).  

The last Municipal Service Review (“MSR”) conducted for Sonoma was in 2006.  

Staff issued a Request for Proposals (“RFP”) seeking qualified vendors to perform a Municipal Service Review and distributed the RFP to a list of vendors sourced from other LAFCOs in the State. Four consultants provided a proposal within the timeframe of the RFP.  

Staff is recommending that the Commission approve a contract for consulting services with E. Mulberg & Associates, or otherwise direct staff to select another consultant.  

Evaluation of Proposals

Staff has reviewed the four consultant proposals in regard to the following factors:  

  • Scope of work (does the project scope match the RFP; does the consultant indicate an understanding of necessary work product?)
  • Proposed project schedule (how long will the project take from initiation to final presentation to the Commission for consideration?)
  • Consultant experience and qualifications (has the consultant performed work for LAFCOs; has the consultant prepared similar reports for similar agencies?
  • Project cost  

A summary of evaluations of these criteria are presented in the following table:  

E. Mulberg & Associates Conforms to RFP June 2021 to December 2021 (seven months) High; has performed MSRs for cities $16,500
Planwest Partners, Inc. Conforms to RFP May 2021 to December 2021 (eight months) High; has performed MSRs for cities $21,342
RSG Conforms to RFP May 2021 to December 2021 (eight months) High; has performed MSRs for cities $34,965
Policy Consulting Associates, LLC & Berkson Associates Conforms to RFP Eight months High; has performed MSRs for cities $41.070

All four consultants have proposed a scope of work that is responsive to the Request for Proposals, and indicates a thorough understanding of project activities and expected deliverables.  

The four proposals differ in projected hours of consultant time that will be devoted to the project: 165 hours for Mulberg; no estimate for Planwest; 210 hours for RSG, and 286 hours for Policy Consulting Associates/Berkson Associates. This variation, and differences in hourly rates for project principals, yield the differing project cost estimates.  

The four firms differ in regard to the number of staff directly assigned to the project, with E. Mullberg & Associates led by a sole principal with contracted support staff, Planwest a with a four-member team, RSG with a four-member team and support staff, and PCA/BA with a four-member team.  


While staff did not conduct a wide-ranging review of references, all four consultants are widely known through CALAFCO activities and through Sonoma LAFCO consultations with LAFCOs statewide. Staff believes that any of the four consultants can execute the project satisfactorily.  

Staff therefore concludes that the primary criterion for selection of a consultant proposal is project cost. On this basis, staff recommends selection of E. Mulberg & Associates.  

(A secondary criteria for selection, from staff’s perspective, is to develop a cadre of consultants that the Commission has direct experience with in performing Municipal Service Reviews and other studies.  Both E. Mulberg and Associates and Planwest Partners have conducted work for Sonoma LAFCO.)


Staff seeks Commission approval to enter into a consulting services agreement with E. Mulberg & Associates to conduct a Municipal Service Review of the City of Sonoma, with a not-to-exceed cost of $18,900.


Municipal Service Review Proposals:

  1. E. Mullberg & Associates
  2. Planwest Partners
  3. RSG
  4. Policy Consulting Associates and Berkson and Associates

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