City Council Meeting - FINAL


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  7.E.       
Meeting Date: 11/17/2020  
From: Sarah Langley, Management Analyst

Information
TITLE:
Consideration and Approval of Contract: Federal Lobbying Services
STAFF RECOMMENDED ACTION:
  1. Approve the Contract with Nexxus Consulting, LLC to provide federal lobbying services for the City of Flagstaff for an annual fee of $96,000 for the first year with a provision for a 2.5% increase each succeeding year, plus applicable expenses billed at cost.
  2. Authorize the City Manager to execute the necessary documents.
Executive Summary:
The City contracts federal lobbying services to advocate and monitor specific legislation impacting the City's interests and established priorities. Each year, the City Council adopts priorities to provide necessary direction to staff and the contracted lobbyist. In addition, the contracted lobbyist is responsible for ongoing communication throughout the year as well as seeking direction regarding important bills, amendments and project developments. Approval of this agreement will authorize a total annual fee of $96,000 for the first year with a provision for a 2.5% increase each succeeding year, plus applicable expenses billed at cost, for federal lobbying services provided by Nexxus Consulting, LLC during the initial contract term of three (3) years, with the option for two (2) one-year annual extensions upon mutual written agreement from both parties.
Financial Impact:
Funding for federal lobbying services is included in the adopted budget in General Fund, Non-departmental section in account 001-09-402-1310-1-4206 Non-departmental. 
Policy Impact:
This item does not impact current policy.
Connection to PBB Key Community Priorities/Objectives & Regional Plan:
Priority Based Budget Key Community Priorities and Objectives
Environmental Stewardship
Safe & Healthy Community
Inclusive & Engaged Community
Sustainable, Innovative Infrastructure
Robust, Resilient Economy
Livable Community
Has There Been Previous Council Decision on This:
In November of 2015, Council approved a contract with Nexxus Consulting, LLC to provide federal lobbying services for the City of Flagstaff.
Options and Alternatives:
  1. Approve the contract for federal lobbying services with Nexxus Consulting, LLC, as recommended.
  2. Not approve the recommended a contract for federal lobbying services and re-solicit 
  3. Not approve the recommended contract and discontinue the use of any professional lobbying services.
Background/History:
The City of Flagstaff’s Intergovernmental Affairs Program coordinates the City's dealings with the federal, state, and other local governments, and seeks to foster constructive linkages between the City and these entities. The program works to advocate for the Flagstaff community by fostering and maintaining relationships with individuals and entities that affect the City’s interests. 

The Mayor and City Council approve a federal legislative agenda on an annual basis, which defines the City’s legislative priorities and guides the work of intergovernmental staff and the contracted lobbyist. Together, the intergovernmental staff and the contracted lobbyist brief the Mayor and City Council throughout the legislative session. While the adopted priorities provide necessary direction, ongoing communication is also critical throughout the session to seek direction regarding important bills, amendments and project developments.

The City's Purchasing Section conducted a Request for Proposals (RFP) solicitation for Federal Lobbying Services. Purchasing posted the solicitation on the City's PlanetBids website on June 16, 2020 and it was advertised in the Arizona Daily Sun on June 21, 2020 and June 28, 2020. On July 17, 2020, Purchasing received a total of three (3) responses. An Selection Committee comprised of seven (7) evaluators representing multiple City divisions, evaluated and scored each proposal response. Based upon the numerical scoring of the proposals, the Selection Committee determined that Nexxus Consulting, LLC was the highest scoring firm. Final score and ranking is as follows:
  1. Nexxus Consulting - 3240
  2. Strategies 360 - 2695
  3. LM5 - 1860

Some specific reasons for the selection of Nexxus Consulting’s proposal includes the firm’s decades of experience working in Flagstaff and Northern Arizona, a deep understanding of the needs of the City of Flagstaff, previous successes in securing millions of dollars in funding for City initiatives, the highly qualified nature of the project personnel and a detailed and strategic approach to lobbying for Flagstaff’s interests.
Key Considerations:
The RFP was updated and revised in the summer of 2020 to reflect the current needs of the City as well as to accurately reflect the scope of services. The RFP allowed for the evaluation of the experience and qualifications of the firm, the project personnel assigned to the project, the presented approach, the proposed fee and meaningful knowledge of City of Flagstaff issues. 

The City is currently in contract with Nexxus Consulting, LLC for federal lobbying services. The outcome of the competitive solicitation process reaffirms that the City is in contract with the most advantageous firm for this important service.

The City signed a contract with Nexxus Consulting, LLC on December 1, 2015 with an initial contract term of three (3) years, with the option for two (2) annual extensions upon mutual written agreement from both parties. The annual fee charged by Nexxus Consulting and paid by the City during these three years was $82,606, plus applicable expenses billed at cost. On December 1, 2018, an annual extension was signed and included a 2.5% increase, bringing the annual fee paid by the City to a total of $84,671, plus applicable expenses billed at cost. On December 1, 2019, a second annual extension was signed, with no increase. The Nexxus Proposal includes a proposed fee increase from $84,671 to $96,000 for the first year, in addition to a provision for a 2.5% increase each succeeding year. After consideration, the evaluation team felt that this proposed fee increase is reasonable given the outstanding performance of Nexxus Consulting on past contracts and a need to pay rates comparable to those paid by other similar-sized cities and counties in the state for federal lobbying services.
Community Benefits and Considerations:
Community benefits of contracted lobbying services may include additional or enhanced funding resources as well as policy actions that may enhance essential services or quality of life for Flagstaff residents, businesses, public agencies and visitors. 
Attachments
Federal Lobbying Contract


    

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