County: Long-Range Plan Right on Track

COG Taps T.Y. Linn for Task

WINNSBORO – With the May 5 announcement by the Central Midlands Council of Governments (COG) that it had selected a primary provider for Fairfield County’s long-range strategic plan, the County is one step closer to sorting out what to do with the massive influx of cash expected after 2019 from two new reactors under construction at the V.C. Summer Nuclear Station in Jenkinsville.

It is, however, a small step, as a dollar figure has yet to be negotiated in the deal and the contract must then come back to County Council for a final OK. And the kind of comprehensive long-term plan the County is seeking could take at least a year to complete, Interim County Administrator Milton Pope told The Voice last week.

The COG’s website announced it intended to award the contract to T.Y. Linn International, a multi-disciplinary engineering services firm with offices across the U.S. and Asia. IBI Group, Inc., Strategic Planning Group, Inc. and Comprehensive Business Consulting, LLC are listed as sub-providers to be contracted by Linn.

The COG would not talk extensively about their procurement process, but did tell The Voice that it was a competitive process that went before its evaluation committee.

“That’s the firm that came out on top,” Gregory Sprouse, with the COG’s Planning Department, said.

Boudreaux Group, Inc. was listed on the COG’s website as “shortlisted,” which Sprouse said meant they were a finalist for the contract.

The announcement raised questions at Council’s May 11 meeting, however, when Ridgeway resident Randy Bright, addressing Council during the first public comment segment of the meeting, said the plan was “already off to a bumpy start.”

“We all remember when we heard the words ‘Let the COG do the next plan. They have all the talent. They have all the means, they have all the resources to do our next strategic plan’,” Bright said. “Well now we discover that the all-knowing COG has farmed out our plan to four high-priced consulting companies. Obvious clarification is needed from our government on this.”

Bright said the County still had plenty of time before the reactors come on line to “formulate the standards of the next strategic plan before the consultants begin.”

Councilman Walter Larry Stewart (District 3) later asked Pope why the County was “using four outfits” for the plan, but Pope said that assessment was not accurate.

“What was published (was) the companies that submitted solicitations,” Pope told Stewart.

Pope told The Voice late last week that the sub-providers submitted solicitations to T.Y. Linn and Linn submitted a solicitation to the COG. The County, Pope said, would have a contract with only the primary provider – T.Y. Linn.

And, Chairman Carolyn Robinson (District 2) said, that had been the plan all along.

Former District 7 Councilman David Brown set things in motion nearly a year ago with his motion to utilize the COG for the next big County plan. Part of that motion, according to the official minutes and according to a story published in The Voice on May 30, 2014, also allowed for the COG to contract out for additional resources as necessary.

“That was (the COG’s) responsibility all along,” Robinson said last week, “to define a scope of work and put an RFP (Request for Proposals) together.”

The economic development portion of the plan will be coordinated through the I-77 Alliance, Pope said, since the Alliance is currently working on a larger plan of its own for all of its member counties, including Fairfield.

The County’s long-range plan will also incorporate a community master plan, which will inventory and analyze community assets and needs; and a financial plan, which will provide a capital improvement program.

The plan will rely on input from the public as well as the County’s other governing bodies, Pope said.

Pope said the contract should be ready for Council’s review next month.


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