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MRSC Insight Blog

Posts for John W. Carpita, PE

Acrimonious Acronyms in 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. 

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

Water and sewer utility bills are increasing statewide as cities, counties, and water/sewer districts replace aging infrastructure, increase their resiliency, and comply with new rules. This post considers the impact this may have on utility bills across the state.

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Smarter, Safer Roads by Design

This post looks at how "smart roads" of the future might impact how local and state agencies design roads and traffic management systems.

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2016 Legislative Changes Affect Some Purchasing and Contract Procedures

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.

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

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

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4 Things You Should Know About 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.

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

This blog post highlights some key takeaways from a 2015 MRSC webinar on prevailing wages.

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Water Storage Asset Management Bill a Big Win for Small Cities

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.

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

After several years in the making, the legislature passed ESB 5871 requiring cities, towns, and counties to offer an administrative appeals process when septic repair or replacement of existing single family systems is denied by the local health department and a sewer hookup is required.

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Legislature Tweaks Contracting Statutes

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

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Filling Gaps in your City’s Streetscape

How can cities or towns orchestrate streetscape retrofits adjacent to undeveloped lots so that the improvements are installed in a manner that is cost-effective and not haphazard?

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Important Tips for Writing Your Agency’s Procurement Policies

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.

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

The Washington Public Works Board has a new FirstStop Initiative bringing together a host of resources, including a robust online tool, to provide local governments with financial and technical support to develop sustainable infrastructure systems.

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Tacoma's Murray Morgan Bridge, courtesy of Scott Hingst.

The Case for Asset Management in Public Works

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.

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What’s in Your Water Mains?

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...

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Doesn’t That Just Get Your Goat!

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...

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Chameleon Contractors

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. ...

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Utility Latecomer Agreement Statutes Change on July 1, 2014

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...

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

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,...

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

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...

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