PUBLIC-PRIVATE PARTNERSHIPS: LEVERAGING THE STRENGTHS OF GOVERNMENT AND THE PRIVATE SECTOR

In this four-part series, EFC director Dan Nees speaks with local government leaders around the Chesapeake Bay region (and beyond) who are partnering with the private sector in innovative ways to better manage stormwater and achieve shared community goals.  These seasoned practitioners share successes and lessons learned to help other communities evaluate if the P3 model may be an effective strategy to meet their own jurisdiction's needs.

Part 1. Clean Water & Economic Opportunity

Prince George’s County, Maryland, has launched one of the biggest and highest-profile stormwater P3s in the Chesapeake Bay region. Driven by a need to restore water quality and comply with federal stormwater mandates, the Clean Water Partnership is achieving better-than-expected results in cost savings and number of projects installed. The partnership is unique in its ambitious geographic scale and in that it integrates local economic development as a core program goal. Adam Ortiz, Director of the Prince George’s County Department of the Environment, describes what motivated the County to pursue a P3, explains the difference between a P3 and privatization, and shares early successes of the partnership. He also offers three questions a community should ask when wondering, “Will a P3 work for me?”

Part 2. Alternative Delivery Models: Lessons Learned and Opportunities

The Environmental Finance Center (EFC) at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill recently completed an assessment of public-private partnerships and other alternative delivery models for providing water services, including stormwater management. The EFC investigated the financial structures and impacts of models in nine communities. In this video, UNC EFC Director Jeff Hughes shares findings from the study and reflects on trends and opportunities for using all types of public-private partnerships within the stormwater sector – where he says they are a natural fit. He argues that the chief benefit for the public sector is not necessarily an infusion of new capital but rather improvements in risk allocation, efficiency, innovation, and performance.
Jeff Hughes
Director of the Environmental Finance Center at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill
December 05, 2017

Part 3. “Full Delivery” Contract Model

Anne Arundel County, Maryland, launched a first-of-its-kind contract system for implementing stormwater projects in order to comply with federal permits. The County’s $3.8 million “full delivery of water quality improvements” contract was competed via a bidding process, and payment to the winning firm will be made upon successful project completion. This system enables the County to maintain oversight while catalyzing markets to do what they do best, including finding innovation and cost efficiencies. Erik Michelsen, Administrator of the County’s Watershed Protection and Restoration Program, describes how this system benefits both the government and the private contractor, the learning curve for public procurement and regulatory departments, and the potential for stormwater to mimic the mitigation banking model in which restoration practices are put into place before impact occurs.
Erik Michelsen
Administrator, Anne Arundel County Watershed Protection and Restoration Program
December 12, 2017

Part 4. Private Financing for Civic Infrastructure: A Portfolio-Based Approach

Known for its coastal New England charm and yacht-filled harbors, the town of Newport, Rhode Island also faces some significant challenges, including vulnerability to the impacts of a changing ocean as well as growing economic inequity. The town decided to turn these challenges into opportunity by issuing a national RFP seeking partners to plan and fund a suite of interrelated community goals, particularly civic infrastructure investment, economic diversification, and job creation. Newport’s Director of Civic Investment Paul Carroll describes how the town took a portfolio-based approach to attracting private investment, how this approach moves beyond a traditional public-private partnership, and what ingredients are needed to replicate Newport’s success.
Paul J. Carroll
Director of Civic Engagement for the City of Newport, RI
December 19, 2017