On Monday, the Niagara Falls City Council passed, by a vote of 3-2, a $65,100 consulting agreement with Desman and Associates of Chicago.
Council members Andrew Touma, Kristen Grandinetti and Chairman Charles Walker voted to approve it.
Councilmen Robert Anderson and Glenn Choolokian voted against it.
Here is what the city will get from Desman and Associates:
1. An update of a plan Desman already drafted for the city, in 2012, for which they were paid $47,000.
2. Plans for the purchase and installation of meters for the city's surface parking lots and the Rainbow Ramp, identify prospective bidders, evaluate bidder's proposals, and recommend the "most qualified bidder."
Desman will also oversee the (to be hired) city parking manager who will oversee the installation and testing of the new meters: $25,000
Two Desman associates will come to Niagara Falls, twice, for day trips: $2,400. One Desman employee will stay overnight for another $1,600.
3: Desman will write the bid document for the street meters to be installed on various downtown streets, identify bidders, evaluate proposals and recommend the most qualified bidder. Then Desman will work with the new parking manager to oversee the installation and testing of the new meters.
Fee: $27,200, with travel.
Total cost: $65,100
Two things of note:
A search online shows that the plan to assist cities for the purchase of meters is something Desman has done before. They do not have to reinvent the wheel. They can use old bid documents and change the name from the old studies to that of the City to Niagara Falls. Also Desman will pick the company that will sell the city the meters. There are only a few companies in this business and Desman is well known to all of them. Indeed the winner of the bid may already be picked out.
In addition to the $65,100, Desman also offers optional services for an additional $30,100.
1. Provide written guidance to the City on how to hire a new parking manager. Desman will then recommend who to hire.
2. Write a Request for Proposals (RFP) for hiring an outside company to be the "Professional Parking Operator" for the city's new meters for a split of the profit: $19,200.
One final note: The city will be buying the meters, not the outside company. The outside company will collect the money and remit a portion to the city. The city will now have to pay for a new parking division with a parking manager and staff.