Discussion of Brighton's Engineering Services
Midsize communities like Brighton contract with engineering firms for their engineering needs rather than having a City Engineer on staff. Contracting for engineering services gives a community access to all of the resources and specialties of a large firm without having to employ multiple classifications of engineers.
The City of Brighton has worked with TetraTech since 1985. Currently, the City pays a retainer for TetraTech’s services, as well as a per project amount for special projects. The projects range from installing a new HVAC system at the water plant to a new design for Grand River Avenue. TetraTech is automatically awarded special projects under the current system.
As City staff prepares the budget proposal for fiscal year 2017-18, we have been looking closely at every expenditure. Due to aging infrastructure, the expenditures related to engineering are expected to increase for redesign and repair of roads. With increased engineering expenditures, staff sought Council’s feedback on bidding engineering services. Bidding engineering services allows for evaluation of the expertise of qualified firms.
Council expressed concern over the bidding process due to TetraTech’s long history as the City’s engineer. The pros and cons of bidding engineering services were discussed and the City Manager is weighing both sides of the issue. City Council requested staff to bring back additional information on what such a bid process would look like, the impacts of potential change in service providers and/or use of multiple provides, and the potential savings and hidden costs to a yet-to-be-determined Council Meeting.
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