Beginning July 1, Arapahoe Road—the main thoroughfare through Centennial, Colo.—will be maintained by the private sector under one of the largest services transfers from public to private hands. Photo: City of Centennial

Colorado's Arapahoe County will eliminate more than 30 positions after its largest customer became the 17th city to outsource infrastructure services to engineering firm CH2M Hill OMI.

Since incorporating in 2001, the 100,000-resident city of Centennial has outsourced virtually all public services—except public works—to private providers. The city paid the county a yearly average of $14 million for project management; capital-improvement planning; GIS; traffic engineering and sign maintenance; permit processing and inspections; and street, bridge, and roadside maintenance, including snow removal and street sweeping.

Complaints about service levels, especially snow removal, prompted officials to turn over the work to the private sector.

Of the 31 positions eliminated, 28 are in the Public Works and Development Department, and three are in Facilities and Fleet Management, saving $6.1 million. Although CH2M Hill OMI often interviews and hires public-sector employees, as of press time no one had been hired because the contract wasn't yet in effect.

The five-year contract with CH2M Hill OMI and partners DMJM Harris and American Civil Constructors is worth an estimated $45 million.