Partnerships Provide Alternate Funding Structure for Stormwater ProjectsPosted on Tuesday, August 1st, 2017 by Kristen Kocen
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Using multiple partners to fund and implement stormwater infrastructure projects is growing in popularity in the area. Many find public and private partnerships offer new efficiencies and opportunities to complete stormwater management projects. The flexibility that comes with these arrangements fosters innovation and ensures infrastructure is constructed in the most suitable location.
We interviewed Brad Schleeter, a senior project engineer with 16 years of stormwater experience, on how these partnerships work. You can find his thoughts below:
How are public/private partnerships typically structured?
It depends on what each party is trying to achieve. On a current project, the goal is to reduce flooding. A partnership was formed between the City of Olathe, Johnson County, and developers adjacent to the project area. Olathe is working with the developer to design and construct a solution to address flooding and meet the stormwater requirements for the developer with funding provided by all three partners.
In another local example, a national stormwater management company approached the City of Lenexa about partnering to field test adaptive control technology in a city stormwater detention pond. Valves, controls, and a power supply were installed to optimize pond water levels, increase flood storage, improve water quality performance, and reduce channel eroding flows released downstream. Again, the city, county, and private business partnered to fund the project.
What are some of the challenges?
Funding is always a challenge. Project success typically hinges on getting buy-in from a range interested parties through clearly outlining project benefits to each party. Generally, the proposed solution must be equivalent to or better than a solution each entity could have implemented on their own.
How can the challenges be mitigated?
When it comes to funding, having a dedicated source available for partnerships is a tremendous help. As far as building consensus and buy-in from potential partners, bringing parties together to identify common goals and objectives is important. Ongoing communication is key.
What are the benefits?
There are a number of benefits. To begin, dedicated partnership funding sources provide the opportunities to implement technologies new to the area. Partnerships can also help regionalize stormwater solutions, so instead of meeting requirements at multiple sites, a single, larger location in a more efficient area can be used. This approach can also be more cost-effective in the long run for public partners, because they can optimize a system and centralize maintenance.