Quinn Services Newsletter No. 5

Synopsis:  This newsletter provides a case study of how Quinn Services organized, managed, and administered two energy efficiency projects for the Hanna City Park District.  The cost to do the first project was only 43% of an engineering firm’s estimate.   The cost to administer both grants was only 8.3% of the grant payouts.  Additional details and references for this project follow immediately below.

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Earlier I’ve sent you information showing how Quinn Services can provide you with excellent, project-based governmental administrative services, at a cost less than what you would pay from an Engineering or Law firm.  I’ve recently completed an extended project for the Hanna City Park District that gives a case study of how this worked well in an actual situation.

The Park District had entered into a contract with Tri-County Regional Planning Commission to participate in an Energy Efficiency Community Block Grant.  Some of you may already be familiar with this program, which was part of the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (federal stimulus funding).

The particular project was complex, as it involved the replacement of an existing boiler with a new high efficiency boiler system.  It would involve bid letting, project management of the boiler installation, and grant administration.  The last aspect was particularly critical, because federal regulations required strict adherence to the grant process, where non-compliance could result in freezing of funds or loss of the grant.

For these reasons, the Park District initially contacted their engineering firm to get an estimate on managing this project.  I was then asked to give my estimate.  Because of my lower hourly billing rate, combined with bidding the job in a manner that would not require engineering drawing support, I was able to complete this phase of the work at a cost that was only 43% of the engineering firm’s estimate.

I prepared a bid document package, and arranged for advertising of the bid.  The winning bid was below the estimated cost included in the EECBG Grant.  I did a background check on the contractor for qualifications, insured that the contractor met his performance requirements during the project, and prepared and submitted the required grant documents on time.   The new boiler system was successfully installed, and will result in an estimated savings to the Park District of over $5,000 per year. 

Since there was leftover money in the grant (because the contractor’s bid was lower than the estimate), the Park District asked me to develop a proposal to use the remaining grant funds to upgrade their gymnasium with high efficiency fluorescent lights replacing less efficient metal halide lights, which were also in a state of disrepair.  We learned that this project was eligible for additional monetary support from a Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity (DCEO) energy rebate program.  I prepared the applications and administered the DCEO and EECBG grants, and the total cost of materials and labor were recovered by grant and rebate funding, with no copay by the Park District.

Finally, we determined that a change had been made to the DCEO program, to allow it to retroactively provide a rebate for the boiler project.  I prepared and submitted an application which was approved by DCEO, and the additional money reduced the Park District’s share of the boiler project cost from the usual 25% to only 19.9%

Overall, the cost of the engineering and grant administration services that I provided for these three elements were only 8.3% of the grant and rebate totals, which is significantly less than would be the expected charge from an engineering or legal firm.

If you have project work that you think might benefit from this type of efficiency and cost reduction, feel free to call me at the numbers below to discuss it.  If you would like to discuss this particular project with local officials who I worked with, the individuals below have agreed to be references:

Todd Pahl, Hanna City Park District Board Member and Committee Chair for Buildings and Grounds — 309-645-8535

Fred Winterroth, Mayor of Village of Hanna City — 309-657-3516

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Terry Quinn, Quinn Services

309-383-2641 Home office

309-397-0513 Mobile phone

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About quinnserv
Quinn Services is a Municipal Administrator Services Company. It supports small to medium governments by providing management services for temporary or high importance projects, at a cost less than alternatives such as using an Engineering or Law Firm.

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