Rockland County, New York gets special homerule legislation to allow
Design Build and (sort of) Operate contracts

The Senate and Assembly of New York approved last-minute legislation to allow Rockland County to contract with a private entity to design, construct, operate, maintain, use, etc., sewerage and wastewater treatment systems.

The County would continue to own the facility but competitive proposals would determine the best deal for the County to have the system designed and build by one private entity. Operations, well that's a different matter. The legislation, assembled hastily by the New York Assembly, requires operation of the facility to be transfered, after only five years, to the County.

It also requires strict adherence to New Yorks General Municipal Law, Secdion 103. Section 103 of Article 5-A requires local government to develop its own detailed terms and specifications for a project before it is put out for bid. It prohibits "competitive proposals" for non-propriatary elements of the project. How much is proprietary and how much must be sub-contracted through low-bid on specs? This is an issue that bond counsel Hawkins Delafield and Wood's Eric Petersen and Teno West are wrestling with now.

Can the 5-year transfer from private to public be amended in the next New York legislative session? Industry and municipalities may unite to negotiate with legislators and organized labor to liberalize this reqirement.

Below are some the key points of the new legislation. For a deeper understanding of New York law check the Waer Facts section of this website.

 

Every agreement entered into between the district and a private entity shall require:
  • payment of all applicable prevailing wages pursuant to section 220 of the labor law,
  • furnishing to the district of a performance bond in the full amount of the cost of such construction,
  • such construction, if in excess of twenty thousand dollars, shall be conducted pursuant to sections 101 and 103 of the general municipal law.

A private entity that contracts with Rockland County "to design and construct a new advanced wastewater treatment facility shall operate, maintain and repair said facility for a period of five years at which time the operations, maintenance and repairs shall be performed by county of Rockland employees."

Full Legislative Text