Amanda Simmons
amanda@bossierpress.com

In its first year, the public-private partnership between the City of Bossier City and Manchac Consulting Group, Inc. has already proven itself effective.

Manchac took over the city’s water and sewer division last June, after a 4-2 vote by the Bossier City Council. The city paid them just over $1 million to operate the treatment plants and water and sewer lines for the past year.

In June, the council renewed Manchac’s contract, extending their services for another five years.

Mark Natale, Mark Natale, Bossier City Public Information Officer, said the annual payments are subject to city council approval each year. Last month the city council approved the city’s payment to Manchac for year two of the contract. The council will revisit the contract each year.

Pam Glorioso, Bossier City Chief Administrative Officer, said the partnership has worked out nicely. So much so that there were no negotiations to the contract this year, just a renewal.

“There was some skepticism at first, but after one year it has proven to save money, which in turn is saving the citizen’s money,” Glorioso said.

Manchac reported a total savings of $1.6 million for utility department operations alone. A comparison between the initial 2016 Operating Budget and the 2017 Operating Budget was used to calculate savings.

In total, Manchac showed a total utility department savings of $2,775,535.85, which includes utility department operations, emergency work and cost avoidance.

Not only is it saving money, but the entire operation is handled differently.

“We know what we’re looking at, we know where we are and what projects we should be looking at, “ Glorioso said. “We’re looking at what’s happening at our lift stations, our environmental services, seeing if the water plant has any issues. To my knowledge, that didn’t happen in that scope of detail before. Now we can pretty much put our thumb on anything that’s going on.”

Manchac’s 2017 Operating Budget target summary shows an average monthly savings (combining operation, management and cost avoidance expenses) is $277,553.59.

In December, the Bossier City Council Tuesday heard a presentation from Kansas City, Mo. based consulting firm Burns/McDonnell on the utility financial plan review. The review showed that through the city’s partnership with Manchac, its current revenue stream is sufficient to keep operating through 2021.

That means Bossier City residents will not have their water/sewer rates raised through 2021.

“We’re being proactive,” Glorioso said. “Having good participation with the city and our partners is kind of like a marriage — if there’s tension in the marriage, it’s not going to work. We’ve got a good relationship going.”