Request for Proposal for a Municipal Services Review of the Russian River County Sanitation District

Published: April 25, 2022

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) of the Russian River County Sanitation District (District).

The purpose of the MSR is to inform determinations of the Commission with regard to feasible options for improving the efficiency of public service delivery to those living and working within the District’s boundary. In addition, the MSR must evaluate a shere amendment proposal put forward by the District.

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, 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 over thirty independent special districts, representing services as diverse as water, sanitary sewer, resource conservation, recreation and parks, fire, ambulance, health care, and mosquito abatement.

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 special districts 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 Russian River County Sanitation District. Formed in 1983, this special district serves territory located along the lower Russian River in the far western area of the County; the District provides sanitation service to the unincorporated village of Guerneville and environs.

The District territory covers 2,700 acres, and provides approximately 3,211 equivalent single-family dwelling units of service.  Its wastewater treatment plant has a design capacity of 710,000 gallons per day (average dry weather flow) and treats to tertiary standards. 

The District is operated by Sonoma Water (formerly the Sonoma County Water Agency). The Sonoma County Board of Supervisors governs Sonoma Water, and therefore the District.

In addition to the determination categories described above, the MSR for the District should address the following specific issues: 

Present and planned capacity of public facilities

  • Does the District have a wastewater management plan that identifies infrastructure needs? To what extent is that infrastructure sufficient for existing customers? Sufficient to meet projected growth needs?
  • Does the District have a capital improvement plan that identifies needed collection system, treatment plant and other infrastructure needs, and projected costs for these capital projects? To what extent can the District meet current and projected needs?
  • Is the District operating under any regulatory or judicial orders that direct the District to limit serving new customers, or to improve existing facilities?

Financial Ability to Provide Service:

  • How do District rates compare with other sanitation service providers (cities and districts) in Sonoma County? Has the District been successful in implementing necessary rate increases?
  • Are District finances independently audited? How often? What have been the conclusions of these audits?
  • What are the District’s internal auditing/accounting procedures?

Opportunity for Shared Services:

  • What opportunities has the District pursued to share costs for services, such as for water quality testing, treatment plant management, engineering services, or other services?

Governance:

  • To what extent does the District’s website provide timely information to the public, especially regarding agendas and minutes of District Board actions? If not, why not?

Sphere of Influence Analysis and Determinations:

  • The District has requested that the Commission consider amending its sphere of influence to include thirteen parcels located on the north side of the Russian River at the western border of the District, on River Road. The MSR must evaluate this proposal and propose determinations that would either support or reject the proposal in part or in total.
  • Do any land use regulations of the County of Sonoma preclude extension of the municipal service of wastewater collection and treatment to the areas proposed in the sphere amendment request?

Required Work Product

The selected consultant will be expected to conduct at least one in-person, on-site meeting with Russian River County Sanitation District staff.

The selected consultant will deliver a draft Municipal Service Review, 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 MSR 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 MSR is considered for adoption by the Commission.

Budget

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.

Schedule

The Commission will consider authorizing this project and selecting a consultant at its June 6th, 2022 meeting. Staff will execute a contract, if directed by the Commission, immediately following that meeting.

The Commission has indicated a scheduling sensitivity for this project, and is seeking a consultant who can complete the project expeditiously, with a goal of placing the MSR and any sphere amendment proposal before the Commission at its August 3rd, 2022 regular meeting.

In order to meet the proposed schedule, a Public Review Draft of the report must be published by July 13th, 2022. 

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 sanitation services are financed and provided, including technical knowledge of collection and treatment system design and operation.
    • 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 presenting and disseminating information to local agencies and to the public for review and comment
    • Ability to work cooperatively with multi-agency interests
    • Identification of the lead professional responsible for the project and identification of the professional(s) who will be performing day-to-day work
  2. 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.
  3. 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.
  4. Description of the anticipated approach for this project, explicitly discussing and identifying methodology and timeline
  5. Disclosure of potential conflicts of interest with local agencies in Sonoma County
  6. Identification of any information, materials and/or work assistance required from Sonoma LAFCO to complete the project
  7. Project schedule, including the timing of each work task. This schedule should comply with the expedited project timelines described above.
  8. Information about the availability of all the professionals who would be involved in the work, including any sub-consultants
  9. 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
  10. One copy of a completed MSR which you/your firm has prepared, if applicable

Submittal Requirements

DUE DATE: May 20, 2022

Number of Copies: One fully reproducible original and one electronic version

DELIVER TO: Sonoma LAFCO 111 Santa Rosa Avenue, Suite 240 Santa Rosa, CA 95404

Note: If delivery is to be in person, please first call the Sonoma LAFCO office (707-565-2577) to arrange a delivery time during normal business hours.

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.

If further information or evaluation is needed, interviews may be conducted. LAFCO staff will 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 June 1, 2022, 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; mark.bramfitt@sonoma-county.org or

Tentative Schedule

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

  • Revised Request for Proposals (RFP) Issued: April 25, 2022
  • Proposals Due: May 20, 2022
  • Screening/Evaluation of Proposals: May 23, 2022
  • Commission Consideration of Contract (Tentative): June 1, 2022
  • Contract Start Date: June 6, 2022

 

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