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Frost Brown Todd (FBT) successfully delivered the first local government public-private partnership (P3) under Kentucky’s new legislation. Attorneys Jason Halligan, Mike Shull, and John Egan, along with government relations specialist Steve Robertson, represented the city of Brandenburg in the process to build an $8.3 million state-of-the-art wastewater treatment plant. FBT advised the city throughout the process, issued a P3 request for proposal (RFP), negotiated the agreement, and facilitated the regulatory approval process with relevant state agencies.

The project is expected to save the city upwards of $3.5 million and a year in time compared to the traditional approach. A quicker project completion timeline was important for Brandenburg to avoid disrupting the construction of a new steel plate manufacturing mill from Nucor Corporation in the industrial park that includes the city’s existing facility while also accommodating the mill’s 400 additional jobs.

“Government entities are paying too much and miss out on opportunities for innovation when they do not explore their P3 options,” said Halligan. “Brandenburg embraced that opportunity and became a trailblazer as the first to do it in Kentucky under the P3 legislation. We hope others see this project’s success and will be less apprehensive when considering P3s for their next project.”

Because the RFP allowed companies to customize their proposals, FBT received several unique proposals ranging from design-build, design-build-finance, standalone finance, and other innovative proposals. In the end, Kentucky-based The Walker Company partnered with GRW Engineers, Inc. and WP3 Consulting for the design-build portion and Ross, Sinclaire & Associates provided the financing with Kentucky League of Cities Financial Services and the Kentucky Bond Corporation. Meade County agreed to pass on funds it received from Nucor to pay for half of the project.

“Kentucky has one of the most robust P3 laws in the nation,” said Robertson. “Most P3 laws across the country focus mainly on transportation projects. Kentucky’s law is one of the first to extend the legal framework around local governments. This gives Kentucky the opportunity to be a leader in the way it funds and improves its infrastructure.”

“FBT’s P3 counsel has led to millions of dollars in savings in project and lifecycle costs for our clients,” says Shull. “The firm’s expertise and collaboration among its Government Services, Construction, Finance, and Government Relations practice groups was key to Brandenburg’s success. We look forward to utilizing those resources for more communities in the future.”

FBT’s P3 team provides experienced guidance on the bidding and procurement process and establishes contract terms and conditions to mitigate project risks and avoid costly claims and disputes. Clients include national and international investors, developers and contractors in financing, real estate acquisitions and construction projects, and state and local governments.