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Municipal Service Review for the City of Sonoma

Published: March 10, 2021

The Local Agency Formation Commission of Sonoma County (Sonoma LAFCO, LAFCO, or the Commission) is soliciting proposals from qualified consultants to prepare a Municipal Service Review (MSR) for the City of Sonoma (Sonoma or City).  

The purpose of the MSR is to inform determinations of the Commission with regard to the operations of the City. All work is to be performed in accordance with applicable California Government Code provisions.  

Background and Local Context  

Sonoma LAFCO is comprised of seven members – two members of the Sonoma County Board of Supervisors; two members of city councils; two members of independent special districts’ boards of directors; and one member of the public. Each category has an alternate representative to the Commission.  

LAFCO staff includes the Executive Officer, Assistant Executive Officer, Analyst, and Commission Clerk; the Commission has a Memorandum of Understanding with the County of Sonoma for staffing resources.  

Located approximately an hour’s drive from San Francisco, Sonoma County combines in one location the Pacific Coastline, wineries, redwoods, historic towns, and a variety of fine dining, entertainment and cultural activities. The County is the largest in the North Bay, covering about 1,600 square miles and home to over 500,000 residents.  

There are nine incorporated cities, with Santa Rosa, the County seat, the largest at 175,000 residents. There are 42 independent special districts, representing services as diverse as water, sanitary sewer, resource conservation, recreation and parks, fire, ambulance, health care, and mosquito abatement.  

Founded in 1883, the City of Sonoma is located at the southern end of the Valley of the Moon and has a population just under 11,000. The City provides a full array of municipal services excepting fire and emergency medical services, which are provided by an independent special district, and sanitation services, which are also provided by a special district.  

Section 56430 of the California Government Code focuses on MSRs in preparation for updates to the spheres of influence of agencies. “Sphere of Influence” is defined in state law (section 56076) as “a plan for the probable boundary and service area of a local agency, as determined by the commission.” In Sonoma County, the boundaries of cities and their spheres of influence are generally coterminous.  

Section 56430 requires LAFCOs to analyze service(s) and prepare a written statement of determinations in a Municipal Service Review, with respect to the following:  

  • Growth and population projections for the affected area
  • The location and characteristics of any disadvantaged unincorporated communities within or contiguous to the agency’s sphere of influence
  • Present and planned capacity of public facilities, adequacy of public services, and infrastructure needs or deficiencies including needs or deficiencies related to sewers, municipal and industrial water, and structural fire protection in any disadvantaged unincorporated communities within or contiguous to the sphere of influence
  • Financial ability of agencies to provide services
  • Status of, and opportunities for, shared facilities
  • Accountability for community service needs, including governmental structure and operational efficiencies
  • Any other matter related to effective or efficient services delivery, as required by commission policy


Project Description and Scope of Work  

The MSR that is the subject of this Request for Proposals will focus on the City of Sonoma. No changes to the City’s sphere of influence are being sought or contemplated.  

Required Work Product  

The selected consultant will deliver a draft Municipal Service Review and Sphere of Influence Study, in the form of a Microsoft Word document, to LAFCO staff for administrative review and comment. Based on that review and comment, the consultant will then prepare a Public Review Draft that LAFCO staff will distribute to affected agencies and interested parties, prior to review and consideration of adoption of the study by the Commission.

The selected consultant will attend at least one Commission hearing to respond to questions from Commissioners, affected agencies, and interested parties as the study is considered for adoption by the Commission.  


A final not-to-exceed budget amount for this project will be negotiated with the contractor selected for the work prior to LAFCO staff’s recommendation to the Commission of an agreement to conduct the MSR.  


The final overall schedule for this project will be negotiated with the contractor selected for the work and will be included in the professional services agreement to be approved by the Commission.  

Proposal Requirements  

Responses to the RFP must include all the following:  

  1. A statement about the contractor that describes history, competencies and resumes of the principal and all professionals who would be involved in the work. This statement should address the following criteria:
    • Management level understanding of how water services are financed and delivered
    • Familiarity with the Cortese-Knox-Hertzberg Act, the role and functions of LAFCOs, and the MSR process
    • Experience in governmental organization analysis, including performance measurement and evaluation
    • Ability to facilitate and synthesize input from a variety of sources
    • Ability to interpret varied financial and planning documents
    • Experience in identifying and fostering multi-agency cooperation
    • Ability to conduct public input processes
    • Experience in presenting and disseminating information to local agencies and to the public for review and comment
    • Ability to work cooperatively with multi-agency interests
  2. Identification of the lead professional responsible for the project and identification of the professional(s) who will be performing day-to-day work
  3. Identification of any sub-consultants who would be involved. If sub-consultants are proposed, describe the work they would perform and include the same information for each sub-consultant as required for Items 1 and 2
  4. A statement of similar or related experience accomplished in the last three years and references for each such project, including contact name, email address, and telephone number.
  5. Description of the anticipated approach for this project, explicitly discussing and identifying methodology and timeline
  6. Disclosure of potential conflicts of interest with local agencies in Sonoma County
  7. Identification of any information, materials and/or work assistance required from Sonoma LAFCO to complete the project
  8. Project schedule, including the timing of each work task.
  9. Information about the availability of all the professionals who would be involved in the work, including any sub-consultants
  10. The anticipated project cost, including:
    • A not-to-exceed total budget amount
    • The cost for each major sub-task identified in the draft scope of services
    • The hourly rates for each person who would be involved in the work, including the rates for any sub-consultants
  11. One copy of a completed MSR which you/your firm has prepared, if applicable

Submittal Requirements

DUE DATE: April 14, 2021

Number of Copies:  One electronic version in Microsoft Word or pdf format


Please be aware that proposals are considered public records. Please avoid including confidential or trade secret information.

Selection Process

Sonoma LAFCO staff will review all proposals submitted and will use the criteria listed below to evaluate the proposals. At the discretion of staff, additional information may be requested to clarify and explain proposals.

  • Applicability of overall experience and qualifications related to required services. Consultant shall have knowledge of municipal services, especially provision of water services, and/or LAFCO. Direct experience with LAFCOs is highly desirable.
  • Evaluation of the scope of services, examining in particular any special techniques, approaches, ideas, and insights to be used in performing the services, along with additional consideration of how previous experiences may contribute to the proposer’s ability to carry out the services. Consultant shall possess the ability to initiate, develop and carry out effective strategies to complete the MSR in accordance with state law and LAFCO requirements.
  • Evaluation of quality and comparability of previous service contracts/employment agreements on which the proposer was the sole or lead consultant. Successful experience with local public agencies of similar size and scope to Sonoma LAFCO within the last five years. Successful experience is defined as that which was completed to the satisfaction of the client, on time, and within budget.
  • Evaluation of background, general experience, knowledge and special capabilities or qualities brought to the project by the consultant. Consultant shall possess all permits, licenses and professional credentials necessary to perform the required services.


Consultants with the most highly-rated proposal will be contacted for further discussion. If further information or evaluation is needed, interviews may be conducted. LAFCO staff discuss a final agreement with the top-ranked consultant, in order to make a recommendation to the Commission. If agreement cannot be reached with the top-ranked consultant, staff will begin discussion with the next-ranked consultant. 

Sonoma LAFCO is expected to consider action on a recommended agreement, including scope of work, budget, and timeline at the Commission’s May 5, 2021, meeting. The Commission reserves the right to cancel this RFP process at any time, award a contract to one or more firms, or decline to award a contract to any firm.

The Commission may amend the RFP at any time, which amendment shall take the form of an addendum published on the Commission’s website. It is the responsibility of any prospective firm to take note of any addendum on the Commission’s website. The Commission will provide individual notice of an addendum only to firms that have submitted proposals prior to the issuance of the addendum.

Non-Discrimination & Equal Opportunity

It is the desire of Sonoma LAFCO to provide Minority/Women-Owned, Local Small and Emerging Business Enterprises, and all other business enterprises an equal opportunity to participate in the performance of all contracts, subcontracts, and other LAFCO business activities.

Conflicts of Interest

Proposers warrant and covenant that no official or employee of Sonoma LAFCO nor any business entity in which an official of Sonoma LAFCO has an interest, has been employed or retained to solicit or aid in the procuring of the resulting contract, nor that any such person will be employed in the performance of such contract without immediate divulgence of such fact to Sonoma LAFCO. Proposers will notify Sonoma LAFCO of any potential conflict of interest regarding other work or third party contracts.

Insurance Requirements

The successful proposer shall be required to maintain throughout the term of the contract and for a minimum of six months following completion of the work and acceptance by Sonoma LAFCO of all services under the contract, the minimum insurance coverages, minimum limits, and endorsements and conditions as described in Attachment 1.

Sonoma LAFCO Contacts

Mark Bramfitt, Executive Officer, 111 Santa Rosa Avenue, Suite 240, Santa Rosa, CA 95404; 707-565-3765;

Cynthia Olson, Analyst, 111 Santa Rosa Avenue, Suite 240, Santa Rosa, CA 95404; 707-565-2587;

Tentative Schedule

The tentative schedule associated with the circulation of the RFP and submission of proposals follows:

Request for Proposals (RFP) Issued                                March 10, 2021


Proposals Due                                                                      April 14, 2021


Screening/Evaluation of Proposals                                   April 15-19, 2021


Commission Consideration of Contract (Tentative)       May 5, 2021


Contract Start Date                                                              May 12, 2021