Category Archives: Contract.Cities

Central chooses contractor to run next five years of privatized government

Source: Andrea Gallo, The Advocate, January 9, 2018

People in Central should expect another five years of their government services coming from private contractor IBTS after the company won praise Tuesday evening from both Mayor Jr. Shelton and the Central City Council. IBTS, the Institute for Building Technology and Safety, has spent the past seven years running government services in Central, where the number of city government employees can be counted on one hand. The not-for-profit, Virginia-based company was one of two that bid for the contract to run services that other City Halls hire government employees to accomplish. IBTS offered its services starting at $3.9 million annually and working up to $4.4 million in the final year of a five-year contract. … One big change Shelton said Central wants from IBTS is to beef up emergency services. The August 2016 floods exposed a weak spot in Central’s privatized system of government — the lack of personnel and resources available on a round-the-clock basis to respond to disasters, he said. … CH2M Hill provided city services before IBTS took over.

For some cities, promises of privatization fall short

Source: Mark Niesse and Arielle Kas, The Atlanta Journal-Constitution, May 18, 2017

In the beginning, the gospel of privatization was as if etched in stone. It was handed down from Sandy Springs, the first new city, to generations of descendants: Dunwoody, Johns Creek, Brookhaven and Tucker. … Sandy Springs is still an adherent of the outsourcing theory. But privatization has gradually given way to more traditional government in many of the nine cities that followed. … While Brookhaven, founded in 2012, started in the Sandy Springs mold, the city brought once-outsourced programs in-house, including community planning, human resources and government technology systems. It still contracts for road paving, park maintenance, permitting and code enforcement. Even those that have backed away from blind faith in privatization still see it as the best way to start a new city. … In Sandy Springs, faith in the model remains unshaken, though it has evolved. … Jason Lary, the mayor of the new city of Stonecrest … [plans] to learn from other municipalities that outsource, and is contracting out city administration, planning and zoning, attorneys and building permitting. The Stonecrest City Council voted Monday to hire CH2M as its primary service provider. … South Fulton is taking the opposite tack. Leaders there want to assume control of the services currently under the county’s umbrella and the employees who provide them. They are negotiating agreements with the county to transfer those departments to South Fulton. …


Is the ‘Sandy Springs model’ of government changing?
Source: John Ruch, Reporter Newspapers, July 8, 2016

Since its founding in 2005, Sandy Springs has drawn national notice for outsourcing most city government operations to competitively bidding private contractors. But last month, the city approved three-year, no-bid contract extensions due to fears of government disruption during a planning and development boom. The City Council approved the no-bid extensions only after voicing caution about not shifting to an “in-house,” public-sector government. But new local cities inspired by Sandy Springs, like Brookhaven and Dunwoody, already have brought more jobs and departments in-house. … But the model has changed. In 2011, the city dumped CH2M’s single deal to bid out multiple contracts, saying that saved $7 million. …

Georgia city shows pros, cons of going private
Source: Stanley Dunlap,, April 27, 2014

While Barrow County leaders mull privatization, one Georgia city provides an example of both sides of the equation. Milton is one of three Fulton County cities that have undergone privatization in the last decade. The majority of operations in Milton, Sandy Springs and Johns Creek were contracted out when they incorporated in 2006, however two of them have since scaled back privatization in an effort to save money. ….. The majority of operations in Milton, Sandy Springs and Johns Creek were contracted out when they incorporated in 2006, however two of them have since scaled back privatization in an effort to save money. In 2008 the economy led to Milton officials renegotiating their contracts in order to save money. The city now has 144 employees and only contracts out a few departments. “What they figured out was that by ending the contract with CH2M Hill, and going with a more traditional model for most departments, Milton saved $1.2 million in 2010 and another $1 million in 2011,” said Milton Communications Manager Jason Wright. …. If Barrow officials decide to privatize on a large scale, then it would become the first county in Georgia to do so….

Kasich: Sandy Springs a model for ‘Uber-izing’ government

Source: John Ruch, Reporter Newspapers, February 23, 2016

At its founding a decade ago, Sandy Springs made national headlines for using private contractors to run most city departments and services. Kasich repeatedly likened the city to the driver-hiring app Uber, which has up-ended the traditional taxi industry, and questioned Mayor Rusty Paul and Councilman Tibby DeJulio about how it works. “What I like about what they’re doing here is, they’ve really Uber-ized the government,” Kasich said. “Government at every level, Tibby, has to be Uber-ized.”


Sandy Springs puts public services in private hands
Source: By DOUG NURSE, The Atlanta Journal-Constitution(GA), 09/27/06

…….. Many cities have hired private firms to handle some services, but Sandy Springs has gone much further. And the idea appears to be catching on. …… CH2M Hill is in possession of all city records and, on occasion, The Atlanta Journal-Constitution has had difficulty getting access to public information. That means residents could, too. ….. The lack of transparency also could create opportunities for corruption, such as an elected official hinting he’d like his brother-in-law hired as a subcontractor, said Kerry Korpi of the Association of State, County and Municipal Employees. There’s no way to tell how much profit the company is making and no way to tell how much more efficiency can be wrung from the company, she said.

From contract cities to mass collaborative governance

Source: Frank V. Zerunyan and Peter Pirnejad, American City and County, Viewpoints blog, April 2, 2014

Collaborative governance both in theory and practice has emerged in recent years as an innovative form of governance involving all sectors. While the colloquy and scholarship may be relatively new, the practice of collaboration is not. We examine in this short article one of the oldest and most successful collaboration models in public administration, which emerged post World War II in Los Angeles County, California. The “Lakewood Plan,” named after its birthplace, was devised to facilitate the incorporation of newer cities that sought home rule and control of their neighborhoods. The so-called contracting model was created by the Lakewood Plan to allow public agencies as well as private organizations to collaborate in the delivery of municipal services. The model relies on the sharing of resources by various actors, but also counts on the strengths of each actor in the collaboration to bring efficiencies in the delivery of public services.

Outsourced Cities, Brought to You by CH2M Hill

Source: Brendan Fischer and Seep Paliwal, October 16, 2013

When the town of Sandy Springs, Georgia, spun-off from Fulton County and established a brand new government, it didn’t sign a Declaration of Independence; it signed a contract.

The 100,000-person town entered into a five-year contract with the for-profit management company CH2M Hill to operate almost all of the town’s services: running trash collection, and street cleaning, and wastewater management, and even security and administration for the courthouse. A for-profit company, rather than public officials and public employees, would be in charge of providing all “public” services except for fire and police departments. CH2M HILL employees, wearing Sandy Spring uniforms and driving trucks with Sandy Spring logos, even enforced municipal ordinances like grass-cutting and parking regulations….

…In the next two years, the newly-created communities of Johns Creek, Milton, and Chattahoochee Hills — which, like Sandy Springs, were wealthy suburbs cutting themselves loose from less-affluent counties — followed suit, signing contracts with CH2M Hill to establish fully outsourced cities. …

…The four towns that had outsourced with CH2M Hill eventually changed course, finding the CH2M Hill contract and fees too costly during an economic downturn. The Town of Milton, for instance, saved $2 million over two years by dropping the firm, says Milton Communications Manager Jason Wright.

While many of the towns have continued to outsource many services, some have found taking certain services in-house has benefits. There is no longer a conflict between what’s best for the community versus what’s best for the corporation (and its shareholders)….

Colorado’s Contract City, Part 1: Public Works Contracting 2.0 in Centennial

Source: Leonard Gilroy, Reason Foundation, June 24, 2013

Interview with Centennial, Colorado Mayor Cathy Noon and City Manager John Danielson

In recent years, Centennial, Colorado—a Denver-area suburb of over 100,000 residents that incorporated in 2001—has gained increasing recognition in public administration circles as a leader in innovative government efficiency and privatization initiatives. Since incorporation, the city has pursued a “contract city” policy of contracting with outside providers for all public services, unless there is a demonstrable, quantifiable advantage to providing services in-house….

Thinking Strategically about Recovery Budgeting: A Case Study on Public-Private Partnerships

Source; Amy Davis, Government Finance Review, October 2010


The City of Sandy Springs, Georgia, incorporated in 2005, was the first city to outsource all municipal services, except public-safety services, to one private-sector entity.


….The contract included an administrative side to handle duties such as finance, accounting, purchasing, customer service, human resources, communications, and information technology; and a hands-on side to provide public services such as public works, transportation, parks and recreation, and planning and zoning.

Milton ends privatization experiment

 Source: Ralph Ellis, The Atlanta Journal-Constitution, January 8, 2009


When Milton became a city three years ago, its founders embraced privatization, paying a company to collect garbage, draw up zoning maps and handle the day-to-day duties of a municipal government. But the relationship soured when the city needed to cut the budget. Last week, Milton ended its contract with CH2M Hill, a Colorado-based firm, and went to a mostly traditional form of government. ….. City Manager Chris Lagerbloom said the change should translate into at least $1 million in yearly savings — a significant sum for a city with a $22.9 million budget.