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Wednesday, January 17 News

Eight firms vie to help create town’s strategic plan

FAIRFIELD — Eight different firms from all over the country — and right here in Fairfield — are vying to create a plan to shape the town’s future.

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Bids costs for strategic plan

BlumShapiro $95,000

Connecticut Economic Resource Center $82,500

Future IQ $85,000

Houseal Lavigne Associates $98,500

Kairos Development Group $80,433

Management Partners $72,990

The Novak Consulting Group $72,990

Seismic $80,960

“I think we’re going to achieve the best of both when we ultimately make a selection,” John Wynne, chairman of the Strategic Plan Committee told the Board of Selectmen recently. He said they will be reviewing each proposal in detail, and conducting evaluations and reference checks to narrow it down to two or three firms to interview.

According to Wynne, they expect the consultant firm to start work in early 2018 and take about a year to complete the work. The town has budgeted $100,000 for the strategic plan. A strategic plan for a town is a report that defines what a town wants to be in the future combining economic drivers, government structure, social issues and initiatives like private-public partnerships and infrastructure improvements.

“The ones we are looking at most intently have all done some sort of strategic planning,” Wynne said.

Selectman Kevin Kiley said he agrees the committee should take a look not just outside the town, but also outside the state. “It is a fresh voice that we should hear,” Kiley said. “Sounds like we’re on a really positive path here.”

So, who are the firms looking to win the town’s business?

The closest is right in the town’s Southport section — Seismic Partners, LLC, which also has offices in Charlotte, N.C., and Los Angeles.

It counts Six Flags, Bank of America, Jackson Hewitt, the Charlotte Observer, Reader’s Digest, and the Charlotte Mecklenburg Library among its clients.

Two others are state firms, BlumShapiro Consulting out of West Hartford and Rocky Hill’s Connecticut Economic Resource Center. BlumShapiro lists the city of Hartford as a past client, while the Resource Center, a non-profit corporation and a public-private partnership, has worked with Fairfield before, helping create an economic development plan for the Economic Development Commission. It also states it has worked with more than two-thirds of the state’s municipalities.

Future IQ, with offices in Minnesota, has done work for more than 300 large and medium-sized cities and counties, across North America and Europe.

Chicago-based Houseal Lavigne Associates states it has worked with over 250 communities, via both the public and private sectors in 16 different states.

One of the eight firms is Kairos Development Group from Philadelphia, with clients that include the Passaic County Workforce Board, and Philadelphia’s North Broad Renaissance.

Two firms are from Cincinnati, OH — Management Partners and the Novak Consulting Group. Both have worked for different Connecticut cities and towns, including Bridgeport and Greenwich.

Wynne said the selection process should be completed by January, with an eye toward providing community engagement, like workshops, in March. “We will work that out with the provider,” he said.

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