Tuesday, January 15, 2013

Professional Services

One of the things you learn pretty quickly as a council person is that you can't be an expert at everything. Running a village takes many layers of expertise from management to maintenance to legal to surveying to engineering studies. In this post, I am going to write briefly about the role of our Village Engineering service, CDS Associates, Inc.

The Village has contracted for professional services with CDS for 27 years. Unlike contracts for capital improvements, professional services for the village are not competitively bid, but are based on expertise and the needs of the village. Just like you would hire the best attorney for the job, the same holds true for engineering services. CDS provides engineering services for many Cincinnati jurisdictions including the Cities of Blue Ash and Cincinnati, Villages of Glendale and Amelia, Deerfield Township and many more. Jurisdictions rely on the expertise of their engineer for  everything from preliminary feasibility studies to post-construction services. Amberley's infrastructure needs are as complicated and diverse as any size jurisdiction. Our roads and bridges are aging and council relies upon the recommendations of the engineer to advise us on whether these assets are in need of repair or replacement.

Because of  CDS Associates and our Village Engineer, John Eisenman's long association with Amberley, the knowledge they bring with regard to our infrastructure is invaluable. The relationship predates the acquisition of Amberley Green, for example, and they are able to advise council on the condition of the dam that is not up to ODNR standards and provide several options for bringing it up to code in a timely manner that will potentially save the village hundreds of thousands of dollars in fines. CDS advises and provides planning for bridges, roads, traffic lights and systems, crosswalks -- essentially all of the things that keep our roads and operations running safely and smoothly.

CDS has not raised their consulting rates since 2009, and only just this month brought us a new rate sheet which detailed rate increases that on average are not more than 3.4%. Council, in light of  the history and knowledge that CDS brings to Amberley, as well as the expertise and high rating by the Ohio Dept. of Transportation, its reputation among the over 25 other jurisdictions it represents, its ease of accessibility to village staff, and satisfaction with prior service, voted at last night's council meeting to approve the rate increases.