Public-private partnerships are a way for governments to collaborate with the private sector to share the risks and rewards involved in the construction and maintenance of public infrastructure projects. To ensure a lean government and outstanding service, cities often embraced public-private partnerships. This is what the City of Centennial did.
The City of Centennial is located just south of Denver city limits with 107,000 residents. The city was formed in 2000 through high citizen engagement resulting in the largest incorporated city in U.S. history at the time.
Public-Private Partnerships for Public Works
Balancing service level expectations, capital expenditures and costs, and administration needs was a challenge for the city. But these challenges were overcome by committing to a consistent and trusted private-sector partner. It allowed the partners to define clear expectations of services and build a cooperative culture. Since its incorporation, the city has been recognized as a leader in innovative government efficiency.
Privatizing Public Works
In 2008, Centennial launched a large-scale public-private partnership with the prominent engineering and construction firm CH2M. Terracare Associates was selected as a subcontractor for CH2M and was awarded a five-year contract to perform a comprehensive public works maintenance program for the City of Centennial.
This multi-layered partnership earned the city high honors and national attention for its innovative and cost-effective public works department. The maintenance services that Terracare Associates provides for Centennial include street maintenance, sign maintenance and installation, snow removal, tree maintenance and removal, traffic signal maintenance, erosion control, weed and insect control, street sweeping, trash and debris clean-up, traffic control, and emergency response.
The Mayor of Centennial, Cathy Noon is a founding supporter of public-private partnerships. “As it turned out, private companies came in with a lower cost for providing the same or higher level of services,” says Mayor Noon. In 2012, The City Council voted to extend its public works partnership through 2018, showing their continued support for outsourcing public works.
This innovative approach of privatizing public works – works.