Lambton Shores chooses consulting firm

Lambton Shores chooses consulting firm for studies

LAMBTON SHORES — Council has agreed to award a consulting services contract to B.M. Ross and Associates Limited to provide studies on development charges, water and wastewater rates and a ‘council action plan growth initiative.’

The firm, locally familiar for conducting an environmental assessment to address traffic congestion along Grand Bend’s Ontario Street bridge area, won its latest assignment for a fee of $63,209.24, second lowest price among four competing submissions. However B.M. Ross topped the three other applicants in a request for proposals scoring system based on the independent judgement of three Lambton Shores staff members, treasurer Janet Ferguson said in a report to  council.

The Ross firm was awarded a score of 80.67 per cent, narrowly edging the 78 per cent second place ranking of DFA Infrastructure International which quoted  a fee of $60,923.71, lowest of the four applicants. Watson & Associates Economists Ltd. (72.67 per cent) placed third and Hemson Consulting Limited (70.33 per cent) fourth.

Explaining the necessity of the studies, treasurer Ferguson told council that the most recent development charge (DC) review was completed in 2012 meaning the current five-year DC bylaw expires at the end of 2017.

“Water and wastewater rates were reviewed in 2013 and again in 2015 to accompany the water financial plan as required by the province under O.reg 453/07 for our license requirements,” said Ferguson. “The current water and wastewater rates also expire at the end of 2017.”

The treasurer further explained, “This year, the RFP also incorporated the items noted in council’s Action Plan Initiative for Population Growth – Action #1 and #2 which requests options for attracting growth to infill lots. In addition to the above items, as approved by the Grand Bend Area Joint Sewer Board, a valuation will be established for the Grand Bend sewer treatment facility to incorporate in the financial planning for the shared infrastructure.”

Ferguson reminded council that its approved 2017 operating budget includes $65,000 to complete the studies, financial plan and the action plan growth initiative. And she noted B.M. Ross’ fee of $63,209.24 fits within budget.

The request for proposals document advised applicants that they would ranked based on five weighted criteria: proposed approach 35 per cent, professional fees 25 per cent, experience 20 per cent, qualifications 15 per cent and overall impression 5 per cent.  In her report to council,  treasurer Ferguson did not indicate how each candidate scored in each of the five categories.

Other council notes:

Modernizing Legislation

At the same meeting, Lambton Shores council received without comment a report by clerk Nancy Wright-Laking updating the status of proposed changes to The Municipal Act, 2001. It was introduced as Bill 68 – Modernizing Ontario’s Municipal Legislation Act, given first reading on Nov. 16, 2016 and referred to standing committee on March 23, 2017.

The clerk said Bill 68 proposes amendments to a number of acts including the Municipal Act, 2001, Municipal Elections Act, 1996, Municipal Conflict of Interest Act and the Building Code Act. Wright-Laking identified “three key themes” of the bill: Accountability and Transparency, Municipal Financial Sustainability and Responsible and Flexible Municipal Government.

The clerk expanded on each theme and and concluded with a comment, “If some of the proposals are passed, there could be a financial impact to the municipality such as integrity commissioner costs if there were many complaints or questions posed to the integrity commissioner.” And this potential prospect: “Additional fees may be able to be generated for municipal services.”

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