Counties are critical to successful economic development efforts. That’s because counties maintain 46 percent of the country’s public road miles and build and maintain more than 38 percent of bridges throughout America, according to National Association of Counties data. They also support more than 900 hospitals nationwide and are involved in the operation of more than 34 percent of public airports. Counties support 78 percent of all public transit agencies and invest about $21.6 billion in sewage and waste management to keep community water supplies safe and provide citizen services of all types.
However, in spite of all the good they do, counties are limited when it comes to raising additional revenue. They never have enough and are often forced to leverage the funding they receive through innovation, collaboration and partnerships with private-sector partners. But, counties are not a jurisdiction to be overlooked … there are thousands of upcoming contracting opportunities of all types for 2019.
Victoria County in Texas was recently awarded a $1.1 million state grant from the Rebuild Texas Fund and officials will use the funding to rebuild that region. The funds will help purchase and convert a newspaper office building into a disaster recovery and response center. Space not used by the center may be used for new county offices or it could be leased out by the county. Whatever decisions are made, there will be contracting opportunities for private-sector firms.
Other upcoming opportunities currently available through counties in the U.S include the following:
- Sacramento County will seek bids for an $89.3 million expansion of the Sacramento County jail’s Elk Grove facility. The seven-building project will house a medical and mental health ward with medical, rehabilitation and support services, 26 beds, a pharmacy, clinic, infirmary, classrooms, vocational shop and more. Officials want to award a contract by July and they hope to have a completion date of April 2021.
- A number of Hurricane Michael recovery projects will share more than $220 million from the recently approved Florida state budget. Jackson County will receive $1.6 million for courthouse repairs and $19.1 million for school construction. The Bay County Sheriff’s Office has been allocated $1.4 million for a new building and another $1.9 million will go toward storm water and wastewater projects. The county has $3.8 million for road repair and traffic safety projects. Calhoun County will receive $3 million to rebuild the Calhoun Liberty Hospital and Liberty County will get $6.1 million for school construction which will cover a number of projects.
- There will be an abundance of activity at the Dallas County Community College after passage of a more than $1.1 billion bond issue this month. The bond proceeds will be used for equipment and technology upgrades and to build, improve, renovate and equip buildings. Part of the bond funds will also be used to build a $535 million Education and Innovation Hub. The hub will feature a Business Training Center and a redesigned El Centro College campus. An all-new consolidated downtown campus will be also be redesigned and constructed.
- A new $10 million Houston County, Georgia, State Court building has been approved and is in the design phase. Construction will follow and could take a year and a half. When the court is moved to its new facility, the county has set aside another $2 million to renovate the current State Court Building, which will provide additional space for county offices.
- Prince George’s County in Maryland hopes to become the first jurisdiction in the U.S. to use a public-private partnership to build and maintain five to seven of its public schools. Officials say allowing a private firm to build the schools will cut 14 years off the time to build the schools and cost 15-20 percent less than if they were built by the district. The firm selected will design and finance the buildings.
- Two counties in West Virginia will use Community Development Block Grant funds to help pay for infrastructure projects. Wyoming County will use its $1.39 million to extend various water lines throughout the county. A $3.43 million grant awarded to McDowell County will be used for three projects that include $1.5 million for a wastewater sanitation improvement project in Bradshaw, $1.3 million to install 12,000 linear feet of wastewater lines, four pumping stations and new equipment in Iaeger and $630,000 to improve high-speed internet connectivity in the Bull Creek and Isaban areas.
Companies interested in doing business with government should never sell counties short. The upcoming projects from the governmental jurisdiction of county government in 2019 are abundant, diverse and critically important.