Five: Analyze Total Value

Whether you're choosing a partner for water, wastewater, and stormwater management; street, sidewalk, and right-of-way maintenance; traffic engineering; solid waste management; or something else, you are making a commitment to work together over several years. The best partnerships have been those based on the total value of the proposal, not solely on price.

Partners work with you in your community side by side as an extension of your staff. They should share your mission, values, and goals. They should be committed to making concrete, meaningful contributions to your community. They should bring people who compliment your culture. You'll undoubtedly be more pleased with the results if you evaluate partners on 'beyond the dollars' benefits.

Whether they're called Oand M agreements or management contracts, public private partnerships are increasingly common, with thousands of partnerships in the United States today. Your evaluation may reveal that a partnership isn't the best solution for your community. But if it is, the right partner with the right services, talent, and expertise can help enhance the quality of life in your community for years to come.

Gary L. Miller is senior vice presidentof CH2M HILL OMI, Englewood, Colo.