skip navigation

MRSC Insight Blog


Posts by John W. Carpita, PE

A Tale of Many Cities, Counties, Special Districts and ….

A Tale of Many Cities, Counties, Special Districts and ….

June 21, 2017 by John W. Carpita, PE
Category:

After more than 20 years working as a Public Works Consultant for MRSC, John Carpita will be retiring at the end of this month.  In this post, he shares a few of his favorite memories. 

Read more | 23 comments


Acrimonious Acronyms in Purchasing and Contracting

Acrimonious Acronyms in Purchasing and Contracting

April 20, 2017 by John W. Carpita, PE
Category: Purchasing and Contracting

Will you need an RFQ or an AFB and will you have to ask for an RFP before awarding a contract?  This post helps to demystify the most common acronyms in purchasing and contracting and when you should employ one versus another. 

Read more | 1 comments


Can You Keep Yourself in Ice Cubes? – Water and Sewer Affordability

Can You Keep Yourself in Ice Cubes? – Water and Sewer Affordability

February 23, 2017 by John W. Carpita, PE
Category: Water Utilities

Water and sewer utility bills are increasing statewide as cities, counties, and water/sewer special purpose districts replace aging infrastructure, deal with the twin devils of droughts and floods, seek new or more stable water sources, increase utility resiliency and security, and comply with new rules and regulations. This post considers the impact this may have on water/sewer bills for communities across the state.

Read more | 0 comments


Electronic Document Transmittals and Options for Electronic Signatures

Electronic Document Transmittals and Options for Electronic Signatures

December 19, 2016 by John W. Carpita, PE
Category: Legal

The bad old days of taking weeks to circulate and gather all signatures for a document are gone, only to be replaced by the fast-paced, and sometimes confusing, world of electronic transmittals and digital signatures. This post covers the different levels of sophistication local governments can employ when trying to get documents circulated and signed within an all-electronic format.

Read more | 0 comments


Smarter, Safer Roads by Design

Smarter, Safer Roads by Design

November 8, 2016 by John W. Carpita, PE
Category: Streets and Sidewalks

A while ago, I asked a group of city and county PWDs/Engineers these questions: “What neat and innovative things are your public works consultants and contractors doing on your road projects and what is on your wish list?”  Aside from this tongue-in-cheek response: “I’m anxious for pre-striped, asphalt roads that come in big rolls, like sod,” no one r...

Read more | 0 comments


Electronic Signatures, Submissions, and Bids for Local Governments

Electronic Signatures, Submissions, and Bids for Local Governments

September 21, 2016 by John W. Carpita, PE
Category: Purchasing and Contracting

SHB 2427 has significantly expanded the ability of local governments to send and receive electronic signatures, submissions, and bid documents. But what exactly are electronic signatures, and how do you use them?

Read more | 0 comments


2016 Legislative Changes Affect Some Purchasing and Contract Procedures

2016 Legislative Changes Affect Some Purchasing and Contract Procedures

July 26, 2016 by John W. Carpita, PE
Category: Purchasing and Contracting

On June 9, 2016 three legislative bills became effective that affect the procedures for purchasing and contracting for local governments in Washington State. Here is a quick summary of those changes.

Read more | 0 comments


Changes Proposed to Washington’s Dig Safe Law

Changes Proposed to Washington’s Dig Safe Law

July 5, 2016 by John W. Carpita, PE
Category: Utilities

In 2011, the Washington Legislature substantially amended the 1984 Underground Utilities Damage Prevention Act, commonly known as the “Call Before You Dig” or “Dig Safe” law. These 2011 amendments (which became effective January 1, 2013 and are codified in Ch. 19.122 RCW) strengthened the Act by requiring r...

Read more | 0 comments


Capturing O&M Knowledge and Expertise from (Soon-to-be) Retirees

Capturing O&M Knowledge and Expertise from (Soon-to-be) Retirees

March 14, 2016 by John W. Carpita, PE
Category: Administration

Some advice from local government public works leaders on what types of strategies to use to help ensure a smooth transition as employees retire.

Read more | 0 comments


4 Things You Should Know About Asset Management

4 Things You Should Know About Asset Management

January 28, 2016 by John W. Carpita, PE
Category: Administration , Asset Management

Many jurisdictions feel that AM is too hard for them. But in this blogt we explain how AM can be a fantastic tool for any size jurisdiction and doesn’t take a huge investment to get going.

Read more | 0 comments


Do Prevailing Wages Always Prevail? Lessons Learned from our Recent Webinar

Do Prevailing Wages Always Prevail? Lessons Learned from our Recent Webinar

December 15, 2015 by John W. Carpita, PE
Category: Purchasing and Contracting

On October 15, MRSC hosted a great webinar entitled, The Top Ten Things You Should Know About Prevailing Wage. We were lucky enough to have two fantastic prevailing wage experts from the Department of Labor and Industries (L&I) join us: Laura Herman of the Prevailing Wages Division (L&I) and Industrial Relations Specialist Reasa Pearson. We learned a lot of things during the webinar, bu...

Read more | 0 comments


Water Storage Asset Management Bill a Big Win for Small Cities

Water Storage Asset Management Bill a Big Win for Small Cities

October 9, 2015 by John W. Carpita, PE
Category: Water Utilities

New law grants cities and towns the authority to negotiate a fair and reasonable water storage asset management service contract with firms that submit the best proposals for services.

Read more | 0 comments


Administrative Appeal Process Must Now Be Offered for Required Septic-to-Sewer Conversions

Administrative Appeal Process Must Now Be Offered for Required Septic-to-Sewer Conversions

September 8, 2015 by John W. Carpita, PE
Category: Utilities

Information on new legislation regarding sewer-to-septic converions.

Read more | 0 comments


MRSC Launches New Contracting Requirements Tool

MRSC Launches New Contracting Requirements Tool

July 10, 2015 by John W. Carpita, PE
Category: Purchasing and Contracting

MRSC is excited to launch a new online research tool, Find Your Contracting Requirements, which allows local government officials to quickly pinpoint their statutory requirements for public works, purchasing, and service contracts.

Read more | 1 comments


Legislature Tweaks Contracting Statutes

Legislature Tweaks Contracting Statutes

June 8, 2015 by John W. Carpita, PE
Category: Purchasing and Contracting

An overview of the important changes to contracting statutes from the 2015 legislative session that affect local governments.

Read more | 1 comments


Filling Gaps in your City’s Streetscape

Filling Gaps in your City’s Streetscape

April 23, 2015 by John W. Carpita, PE
Category: Streets and Sidewalks

Your city likely has locations where undeveloped lots are platted, or just exist, without the full range of improvements that are required in today's subdivisions – and now you have folks who want to build on these lots. A likely scenario is that the street serving those lots was once a rural two-lane road without sidewalks, curb and gutter, or storm drains, or that city ordinances at...

Read more | 0 comments


Important Tips for Writing Your Agency’s Procurement Policies

Important Tips for Writing Your Agency’s Procurement Policies

January 29, 2015 by John W. Carpita, PE
Category: Purchasing and Contracting

Adherence to an agency-wide procurement policy/procedure manual is critical to combat irregularities in purchasing and bidding and maintain public trust. If your agency doesn’t yet have a procurement manual, or if you’re looking to give yours a refresher, I’ve put together a few tips in checklist form to help you get started.

Read more | 0 comments


Public Works Board’s FirstStop Initiative Aims to Better Connect Local Governments to Infrastructure Resources

Public Works Board’s FirstStop Initiative Aims to Better Connect Local Governments to Infrastructure Resources

November 18, 2014 by John W. Carpita, PE
Category: Administration

Washington’s Public Works Board (PWB) is a well-loved organization among public works professionals. Through their most popular program, the Public Works Assistance Account (PWAA), local governments in Washington State have received over 1,900 low-interest loans to finance much-needed public infrastructure construction and rehabilitat...

Read more | 0 comments


The Case for Asset Management in Public Works

The Case for Asset Management in Public Works

September 11, 2014 by John W. Carpita, PE
Category: Administration

This is a guest post from Toby Rickman, 2014 APWA-WA President, and Deputy Director of Public Works for Pierce County.  This post is adapted from an article in APWA-WA's latest issue of PUBLICworks Magazine.

Read more | 1 comments


What’s in Your Water Mains?

What’s in Your Water Mains?

July 23, 2014 by John W. Carpita, PE
Category: Water Utilities

An article in the April 2014 AWWA Opflow magazine caught my eye, particularly as the City of Longview is featured. The article is entitled: “The New Ice Age: Pigging Effectively Cleans Water and Wastewater Pipelines." First of all, what is a “pig”? For eons, it seems, utilities of all sort have been cleaning the insides of their pipelines with rubber and metal tools of varying degrees of...

Read more | 0 comments


Doesn’t That Just Get Your Goat!

Doesn’t That Just Get Your Goat!

April 21, 2014 by John W. Carpita, PE
Category: Administration

Once in a while. I get a research request that appeals to my (admittedly) wry sense of humor. Many of you, I am sure, have heard of goats being used for vegetation (weed) control. Probably some of you have even...

Read more | 3 comments


Chameleon Contractors

March 5, 2014 by John W. Carpita, PE
Category: Administration

I recently received a research request involving a contractor who was operating under several names, which in itself is not a bad thing, but in this instance at least one of those "aliases" was an obvious attempt to cover up a bad reputation as another company.  MRSC and the agency's attorney had discussions about how to develop supplemental bidder responsibility criteria to address this issue. ...

Read more | 0 comments


Utility Latecomer Agreement Statutes Change on July 1, 2014

February 10, 2014 by John W. Carpita, PE
Category: Finance

In 2013, the Legislature passed ESHB 1717, which, among other things, modified chapter 35.91 RCW in several key areas for sewer and water facility latecomer...

Read more | 1 comments


Off-Site Fabrication Reporting Requirements Sunset

January 2, 2014 by John W. Carpita, PE
Category: Purchasing and Contracting

Until December 31, 2013, contractors that used prefabricated project specific items produced out-of-state had to report that fact to the Department of Labor & Industries (L&I) on their Affidavits of Wages Paid for public works contracts estimated to cost over $1 million.   Until then, all contracts for public works...

Read more | 0 comments


Contracting for Services Publication

Contracting for Services Publication

December 11, 2013 by John W. Carpita, PE
Category: Purchasing and Contracting

Our new Contracting for Services publication has generated a lot of interest and some great comments from folks who have downloaded it. In response to some of these comments, we have added some additional language, which...

Read more | 0 comments


Washington’s New Fire Suppression (Hydrant) Law—SHB 1512

Washington’s New Fire Suppression (Hydrant) Law—SHB 1512

May 10, 2013 by John W. Carpita, PE
Category: Fire Protection , Water Utilities

Thanks to concerted and cooperative action by a coalition of public and private water purveyors, cities, counties, trade organizations, and fire fighting agencies (FIRE PALS), Washington now has a new fire suppression (hydrant) law. This new law resolves issues resulting from two court cases,...

Read more | 0 comments


Unsung Heroes of the Washington Public Works Community: The APWA Contract Administration Subcommittee (CASC)

Unsung Heroes of the Washington Public Works Community: The APWA Contract Administration Subcommittee (CASC)

March 29, 2013 by John W. Carpita, PE
Category: Public Works and Utilities

As I stated in an earlier blog post, I am quite "plugged in" to the greater Washington State public works community. I’ve had many opportunities over the years to see and to...

Read more | 2 comments


Unsung Heroes of the Washington Public Works Community: The APWA Division 1 Subcommittee

September 26, 2012 by John W. Carpita, PE
Category: Public Works and Utilities

Plugged in as I am to the greater Washington State public works community, I’ve had many opportunities over the years to see and to experience the dedication and - well, the devotion - of public works professionals to their craft. They truly do go beyond and above the call of duty and their paychecks. In an ongoing, but intermittent, series of blog entries over the next few months, I hope to...

Read more | 0 comments


New Indemnification Language for A/E Contracts

July 18, 2012 by John W. Carpita, PE
Category: Administration

Is there a “brave new world” in which architects and engineers have gained the upper hand by limiting indemnification language that can be included in their contracts?  Maybe not, but legislation enacted this year should cause local governments to review the indemnity language in their construction and design professional contracts.  Read on for specific recommendations.
An indemnity is an...

Read more | 0 comments


Are We Conserving Too Much Water?

May 29, 2012 by John W. Carpita, PE
Category: Water Conservation

The politically and ecologically correct answer is "no."  Potable water is a relatively finite resource and we – both individuals and communities – should always seek to identify wasteful water usage and reduce it.  However . . .
Many water utilities across Washington State (and the rest of the country as well) have had to raise rates and revise their rate structures to recover fixed costs...

Read more | 2 comments


 more

Blog Archives

GO

Follow Our Blog