Tuesday, September 30, 2008
Why is this a tough decision? A $6.9 million surplus vs. $2 million deficit over 3 years.
Sunday night Senator Dan Weber presented the Dunwoody City Council the comprehensive financial information compiled by his ad-hock committee for the hybrid plan in comparison to the CH2MHill expense numbers being batted around by the City Council. In these very tough economic times, the “Weber - Boyken Hybrid” plan appears to save us $6 million dollars over three years in comparison to the CH2MHill plan which currently shows a $2 million dollar deficit over the same period. The CH2MHill plan which was initially presented at $10 million to match the request of the RFP (see page 8 – why did we tell them a price?) but has now been cut way back in price and to a level of service which is unknown. The City has also whittled down the expenses to where we have very little money for capital improvements, very little reserve funds for contingencies (others use 8%), very little money for parks, a tight police budget and very little wiggle room until which time the City Council will need to come begging the citizens for a possible tax increase. Senator Weber explained these spreadsheets during the Sunday meeting and I encourage you to re-listen to that specific segment as you look at the documents.
Besides the money issue, the next big question is what level of service does each proposal present and at what price? The CH2MHill proposal has been cut way back from the original response to the RFP and I honestly don’t know the levels of service that they are currently proposing since it is still a moving target. I was looking for definitive, detailed information from CH2MHill during their presentation Sunday night but they only offered their “reputation of quality” and “customer service” speech, instead of specific levels of service. If we are having hard time getting this type information from the single master contractor prior to the contract, it doesn’t bode well for us in the next three years if we do decide to sign on the dotted line.
The “Weber - Boyken Hybrid” appears to offer a reasonable alternative which enables us to control and maintain our own assets, and creates a capital pool of savings that could be allocated to some “immediate needs” expense items. The scope of Boyken International is in-depth project management. The company’s strengths are implementation and management. Don Boyken is a DHA Board Member, former President of DHA and trusted citizen and stake holder in Dunwoody. He has made significant contributions to the community throughout the years. Although the implementation “may take longer”, the CH2M Hill model prohibits Dunwoody from addressing parks improvements and other infrastructure improvements for 3 years! As you know, a future expense for some necessary improvements needed immediately could create exponential expense multiples 3 years out. I believe the Weber - Boyken route presents a clearer, more affordable path; but I am only one member of the City Council.
I am still awaiting the formal announcement and agenda of our tentative Wednesday evening meeting (7 p.m.) at Peachtree Middle School and please be aware that this item may be voted upon and decided at that time? Whether the CH2MHill proposal is or isn’t on the agenda for Wednesday, I would like to hear your public comments on these proposals at the meeting. As per my recommendation at the first work session, the City Clerk should post a sign up list which will allow 10 commenter’s three minutes each to speak at the beginning of the meeting and if those slots are full there will be public comment at the end of the meeting.
I urge you to take advantage of this opportunity to voice your opinion, people will be listening. Thanks.