Franchise Renewal Assistance

In order to operate an electric or natural gas system in your community, private utility companies need to obtain or renew a franchise granted by the city. These franchises routinely come up for renewal every ten to twenty-five years. Cities are usually given the choice of either "rubber stamping" the standard or model agreement provided by the utility company or drafting a new franchise agreement, which includes provisions that will protect the city's long term interests. If your city is inclined to pursue the latter option, we can assist in the preparation of "city friendly" provisions for the franchise agreements and the subsequent negotiations with the utility company. While cable companies can now seek a state-wide franchise through the State of Iowa, we can still assist your city in negotiations with your cable provider regarding a local cable franchise agreement.

Water and Sewer Utility Rate Analysis

City water utility and sanitary sewer utility systems are typically financed from user fees paid by persons and entities connected to the systems. Water and sewer rates are usually established by an ordinance of the city council and must be sufficient to generate the revenues needed to pay the expenses of operation and maintenance and to pay the principal and interest due on water and sewer revenue bonds, notes or loans. We can assist your city with a review and analysis of water and sewer rates to ensure that revenues will be adequate to meet the city's financial obligations relating to the water and sewer utility systems. We can also assist the city with projections of expenditures and revenues and the adoption of a rate structure that addresses the city's long term needs.

Annual City Budget Review & Analysis

As expenditures continue to increase and revenues remain the same or decline, the balancing of the annual city budget will become even more challenging and controversial. Callahan Municipal Consultants has been through the annual budgeting preparation process on numerous occasions. We can assist your city with the difficult task of identifying both potential reductions in expenses and revenue enhancements. We can provide your city with another perspective when making budget decisions. If requested, we can also assist your city staff and elected officials with a ranking system of proposed reductions in expenses and/or increases in revenues.

Consulting Services

Executive Search Process

The hiring of a person to fill a key administrative position in your city is a critical decision with long term ramifications. The recruitment and selection process to hire a city manager, city administrator, city clerk, or a city department head is an important service that Callahan Municipal Consultants can provide. The goal of our recruitment and selection process is to assist your city in hiring a qualified person who is the "best fit" for your community. We will design the process to meet your preferences and expectations. 

Planning Services

Preparation of RFQ's and RFP's

One of the most important decisions that a city council must make is the selection of an engineer or architect for a major capital project. If the project is partially funded by a federal grant, the city is obligated to follow a request for qualifications process. Callahan Municipal Consultants, LLC can assist the city with the preparation of both request for qualifications (RFQ's) and requests for proposals (RFP's) by facilitating the initial review process, assisting with the interviews and the selection of the most qualified firm. While the city council will make the final selection, we can assist the city so that process is comprehensive, efficient, well managed, and fair to all parties. 

Urban Renewal Plans

Chapter 403 of the Code of Iowa allows cities to designate a tax increment financing (TIF) area, which then permits the collection of TIF revenues to finance certain eligible projects. One of the steps in the process of establishing a TIF area is the preparation of an urban renewal plan outlining the objectives to be accomplished within the area. We can assist your city and your city's bond counsel with the preparation and approval of an urban renewal plan. We can assist your city with presentations and explanations of the urban renewal plan before the city council, planning and zoning commission, and the affected taxing entities that attend the required "consultation session". 

City Insurance Specification

The cost of securing insurance coverage for municipal buildings, vehicles, equipment, workers compensation, and general liability is a major expense for many cities. While it is not advisable to solicit price quotes for city insurance coverage on an annual basis, there may be times when your city will need to review its insurance program and request proposals. Callahan Municipal Consultants has the experience preparing specifications for insurance coverage. While the insurance review process may result in some savings to the city, the overall review of current insurance policies could also identify "gaps" in coverage or properties not listed on policies. We can also assist your city council in the decision making process to retain the current insurance provider or switch to a new company.

Preparation of 28E Agreements

Chapter 28E of the Code of Iowa allows cities, counties, and other entities to enter into intergovernmental agreements or service sharing arrangements. The scope of these 28E agreements can range from the sharing of one piece of equipment by two cities to the actual establishment of a new entity to provide a specific service. We can assist your city with the preparation of 28E agreements. We utilize two "28E checklists". One checklist is a comprehensive approach to the preparation of intergovernmental agreements and the other is a list of contents for 28E agreements. 

Capital Improvements Plans

Many cities recognize the need and the value of having a capital improvement plan (CIP), which is a written report for the planning, scheduling and financing of major capital projects over a period of time, such as four to six years. A CIP will identify potential infrastructure improvements, such as the construction or reconstruction of streets, sanitary sewers, water mains, and storm sewers. It can also include the renovation or replacement of municipal buildings, facilities, and major pieces of equipment. The CIP will estimate the probable cost of each project and propose a time table for the completion of the projects. 

City Council Goal Setting

Callahan Municipal Consultants can assist mayors and city councils with the identification and prioritization of your city's goals and objectives.  We have developed an efficient and effective goal setting process that will assist the mayor and city council in your city to list potential projects, programs, and initiatives and then rank them in order of their priority.  The process typically involves an advance questionnaire, the involvement of city department heads, the facilitation  of a city council work session, and a written report summarizing the city's overall goals and objectives for the next one to two years.  The city council work sessions are organized, productive, and on point. 

Organizational Review and Analysis of City Operations

 If your city has a particular department that has experienced controversy or issues that has impacted the overall productivity of operations, then perhaps we can provide that "fresh set of eyes" to review the situation.  We will meet the city employees, the department heads, and other city officials to discuss the problems.  We will examine relevant documents and tour the city's facilities.  After a careful and thorough review of the department and the issues, we will prepare a written report of our findings and observations.  We will provide an unbiased perspective of the issues as we understand them and provide our recommendations on how to improve the operations of the department.