All State of Montana and Commerce requirements concerning procurement of professional services will apply. Additionally, HUD procurement requirements will apply when the total cost for a planning project exceeds $100,000.
To be eligible for reimbursement, professional architectural or engineering services must be procured in compliance with Section 18-8-201, MCA. The local government will be required to submit evidence showing the procurement process was followed and provide documentation of the review and selection process, prior to requesting reimbursement. In order to ensure that expenditures will be eligible for reimbursement, please contact a Planning Bureau staff member directly for guidance before procuring professional services or incurring any costs for which the local government may later request reimbursement.
For procurement of planners, grant writers and consultants, CDBG recommends using the formal RFP process to increase the community's ability to hire the best qualified consultant. A planning RFP should be concise, contain all the important information needed for firms to respond in a factual manner, and indicate the services the consultant would be expected to provide. It also should include information regarding the timeframe, factors that will be used to evaluate the responses, and a contact person. At a minimum, local governments are required to conduct limited solicitation in the procurement of planning services, and will be asked to provide documentation that a minimum of three (3) qualified firms were contacted in writing or via phone and provided formal quotes for consideration. The local government will be required to submit evidence that the limited solicitation process was followed and documentation of the review and selection process. Any representative hired by a local government to conduct the RFP solicitation or procurement process cannot be subsequently hired by the local government to perform the planning services.
Procurement of professional services may occur at any point - including prior to the preparation of a CDBG planning grant application. If a local government hires a professional architect, engineer, planner, grant writer or other consultant to complete work in relation to a CDBG planning grant activity, the procurement processes described above will apply. Applicants are encouraged to contact Planning Bureau staff to discuss procurement in advance of an application, to ensure all applicable administrative procedures have been met. If a professional has been hired and identified in the CDBG application, the applicant must provide documentation that all applicable procurement processes have been followed in securing the professional identified for the planning work to be completed, prior to an aware being made.
Documentation that the following CDBG requirements have been met will apply to all CDBG planning grant recipients when procuring for professional services:
Disadvantaged Business Enterprise Requirements
Outreach to qualified Disadvantaged Business Enterprise and Women-owned Business Enterprise and Minority-owned Business Enterprise (all referred to as DBE) firms should be completed each time a procurement action is undertaken. For most projects this means copying DBE firms at the time of issuing a Request for Proposals (RFP) or Request for Qualifications (RFQ) to hire an engineer, architect or planner.
A list of Montana Disadvantaged Business Enterprises created by the Montana Department of Transportation (MDT) Disadvantaged Business Enterprise Program may be found by call MDT at 406-444-6337 or downloaded from their website: mdt.mt.gov/business/contracting/civil/dbe.shtml.
The primary objective of this requirement is that grantees and any sub-grantees take all necessary affirmative steps to ensure that DBEs in labor surplus areas are used when possible in the procurement of goods and services for CDBG funded activities.
Section 3 Requirements
The Section 3 Notice should be published each time a major procurement action is undertaken on a planning project. For most projects this would mean publishing the first Section 3 Notice at the time of issuing a Request for Proposals (RFP) or Request for Qualifications (RFQ) to hire an engineer or architect. This notice must be published in order to inform the community of employment and business opportunities and to demonstrate compliance with Section 3 requirements. Section 3 requires that to the greatest extent feasible:
- Opportunities for training and employment must be given to lower-income residents of CDBG-assisted projects; and
- Contracts for work in connection with such projects should be awarded to business concerns located in, or owned in substantial part by "project area" residents.
A sample Section 3 Notice form and a sample Letter of Work Notification to DBE firms for CDBG grant recipients are located on the Commonly Used Forms page. Section 3 and DBE activities must be reported to Planning Bureau staff prior to CDBG planning grant funds being disbursed.
Professional Services Agreements and Supplemental Conditions
Commerce provides guidance to grantees on the preparation of RFPs for planning, architectural and engineering services. Once the procurement process is complete and a consultant is hired, grantees may use the sample Professional Services Agreement which includes the standard agreement language used in such contracts and the clauses required for CDBG-funded grant contracts. It is the grantee's responsibility to include provisions related to all applicable CDBG requirements in any contract or agreement through which CDBG funds are passed on to a contractor or subcontractor. The CDBG Supplemental Conditions to Contracts must be included in contracts for professional services, even if a contractor prefers to use their existing contract format.
A sample RFP for solicitation, Professional Services Agreement and sample Supplemental Conditions to Contracts may all be found on the Commonly Used Forms page.