City Council Meeting - FINAL

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Meeting Date: 09/19/2023  
Co-Submitter: David McIntire From: Jack Fitchett, Business Attraction Manager

Consideration and Approval of Contract: Stiletto Consulting Ltd in an amount not to exceed $95,000.00 for the community outreach, development, and creation of a City of Flagstaff - Economic Development Strategic Plan.
  1. Approve this contract as written to begin economic development strategic planning services.
  2. Authorize the City Manager to execute the necessary documents. 
Executive Summary:
This City of Flagstaff has need for a Economic Development Strategic Plan, the contract has a full list of deliverables, however, a brief overview is:
  • Research and understand the economic and community landscape by reviewing existing plans approved by the City of Flagstaff or regional partners.
  • Conduct secondary research (as needed) to identify best practices and trends on existing economic development strategies for municipality regions in exemplary jurisdictions.
  •  Identify key industry sector assets and gaps as well as global and local trends affecting Flagstaff's current and future sectors.
  • Conduct secondary research on local labor market skills and availability, available land and servicing capacities, and supply chain opportunities.
  • Conduct a market research scan to validate the potential competitive advantage and unique value proposition of the City of Flagstaff.
  • Conduct secondary research on macro socio-economic trends in United States and globally that could potentially impact the strategy over the next five years (with a focus on unique trends most likely to
    impact the City of Flagstaff).
  • Conduct a review of how the City of Flagstaff is currently promoted by stakeholders as a place to live, work and invest, as well as of the relationship and resource leverage between the City’s Economic Development Team and the broader economic development community to identify improvement and enhancement opportunities.
  • Perform a Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities and Threats analysis.
  • Community and Ecosystem Asset Mapping: Prepare a series of illustrations to demonstrate key areas of strength, gaps, and opportunities in the community related to support services, educational programming,
    educational research, existing and available infrastructure, real-estate gaps and opportunities, and key growth sector potential.
  • Develop measurable and effective strategies and a corresponding implementation plan that will advance the economic sophistication and resiliency of the economy. This will include tactics, timelines, and partners.  
All this information will be gathered with exceptional data analytics and extensive stakeholder engagement. Stiletto has performed numerous strategic plans across the U.S. and has recently conducted economic strategic plans in Pima and Apache county. 

Staff is excited to work with Stiletto to provide a meaningful guiding document that will direct City of Flagstaff efforts into the future to ensure economic prosperity for Flagstaff residents.
Financial Impact:
The contract for economic development strategic planning services and the creation of the City of Flagstaff Economic Development Strategic Plan cost $95,000. There is $100,000 budgeted in the economic development fund this year (FY24) in 052-07-213-0830-4-4206. These funds are Bed, Board and Beverage funds which are restricted to use for the economic development program by ordinance. 
Policy Impact:
City staff will be able to more efficiently and effectively allocate staff, and other resources, to align with updated strategies created from modern data and analytics. Through the creation of these strategies, goals, objectives, and performance metrics, staff will be able to better meet the needs of our community. In addition, activities in the community and organization can be assessed for their impact on these goals to ensure coordinated momentum. The Economic Collaborative of Northern Arizona recently did a regional plan which highlighted some of the very real challenges the Flagstaff economy may face in the future. This plan will assist the City in ensuring prosperity for citizens, businesses, and resources for the community, through a strong, resilient, and diverse economy.
Connection to PBB Priorities/Objectives, Carbon Neutrality Plan & Regional Plan:
Priority Based Budget Key Community Priorities and Objectives
Priority: Robust Resilient Economy
  • Grow and strengthen a more robust, diverse, and resilient economy. 
  • Maintain and enhance an effective business recruitment, retention, and expansion program. 
  • Enhance understanding between the development community, the City and Flagstaff residents. 
  • Attract employers that provide high quality jobs and have a low community impact.
Carbon Neutrality Plan
  • EP-1: Accelerate the transformation to a low-carbon economy that minimizes emissions and spurs innovation.
  • EP-2: Support the adaptation efforts of local businesses as the climate changes and the economic landscape shifts.
Has There Been Previous Council Decision on This:
Other than approval of the budget, the Council has not had other decisions brought to them on this item. Council will be asked to participate in the development of the plan, and it will be brought to Council for approval. Council did approve the funding for this during the budget process.
City staff has not had a sophisticated economic assessment and strategic planning process in many years. Staff has generally operated based on adaptations of prior plans, understanding of community conditions, Council direction, and best practices in economic development. This has led to measurable success, however, there have been many factors, from policies to pandemics, which have shifted the economic landscape in recent years. It has become clear that ensuring that the community has a clear understanding of the current economic conditions, and that we have clear strategies to advance Council’s goals, requires additional insight and sophistication and staff is looking forward to that analysis, the community discussion, and the resulting plan.

Purchasing staff solicited a Request for Statement of Qualifications (RSOQ) on March 29th, 2023, and advertised it in the AZ Daily Sun on April 9th, and April 26, 2023. Purchasing received responses from eleven (11) interested firms for this request. An  evaluation team of six members, including one from outside the City, evaluated the SOQs and determined the top three candidates. A subsequent interview process took place of those three and yielded Stiletto as the highest scoring agency to complete Flagstaff's economic development strategic plan. Below are the evaluation scores of the top four.

Stilletto                       784
Resonance                 759
Elliott D. Pollack         674
Expanded Financial Considerations:
This strategic plan's cost is below the budgeted amount that was allocated.
Community Involvement:
Stiletto has a robust community engagement strategy that will consist of interviews, focus groups, and/or community sessions.
Stiletto’s community stakeholder approach is unique in its iterative and inclusive manner. Engagement will take place at the project commencement, mid-project, and project conclusion to identify gaps, opportunities, and priorities, to validate direction, to solicit buy-in, and to ensure support for the recommendations.
Expanded Options and Alternatives:
Should Council not approve this contract, staff will be able to continue negotiations with the selected candidates. If the selected party is unable to deliver services that Council requests within the allocated budget, staff may then negotiate with the second highest scoring entity. 


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