Senate Joint Resolution No. 383 (Appendix A) established a joint subcommittee to review the need for and fiscal impact of various methods of providing the cost-effective delivery of basic governmental services in the Greater Richmond area. This was not the first time this topic had been examined by the legislature and others in the community; however, it was thought that more study was needed. Leaders from the City of Richmond and the Counties of Henrico and Chesterfield agreed to participate in the study, as well.
The subcommittee began its work by deciding which services to examine further in order to determine if they should be offered on a regional basis. Public transportation, water and sewer, education and social services were the four service areas designated for more detailed study. The subcommittee also decided that an unbiased third party consultant should be hired to do a cost/benefit analysis regarding the delivery of such services on a regional basis. With this information, the subcommittee could then make an informed decision about which, if any, of the services warrant a regional approach.
To find a consultant, the subcommittee participated in the request for proposals (RFP) process. Over one hundred requests were mailed out with five proposals received. An evaluation team, consisting of five subcommittee members, was appointed to review the proposals and make a recommendation to the joint subcommittee as to which consultant to engage for the analysis.
The team interviewed the five groups which submitted proposals, narrowed the field down to two and conducted a second interview with them. Knowing that the original resolution only contained $10,000 for consulting and that the scope of the proposal would demand a higher fee, the joint subcommittee decided to seek an appropriation to cover the higher fee. This was accomplished through a joint resolution extending the study for one additional year and through a budget amendment in the amount of $140,000 for consulting fees. The specific budget amendment was not adopted but $258,000 was allocated to the Legislative Department Reversion Clearing Account which included $120,000 for this study, if approved by the Joint Rules Committee. At the time this report went to press, the $120,000 had not been allocated by the Rules Committee.
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