News Maker - FLORIDA
FLORIDA: On June 27th Florida Governor Rick Scott signed HB 85 adding Florida to the growing list of states with a fair set of laws to facilitate public-private partnerships (P3s). P3s transfer responsibility for certain public projects to private companies, enabling the state to utilize public funds for other purposes while still moving forward with needed construction and improvements. P3 legislation typically, and in this case, includes requirements for payment bond protection on projects that meet the state's public construction thresholds.
Qualifying projects under HB 85 include:
A facility or project that serves a public purpose, including: facilities for mass transit, medical or nursing care facilities, recreation, sports and culture facilities, education projects, oil or gas pipelines or any other public facility or infrastructure to be used by the public at largeImprovements to a building that will be principally used by a public entity or the public at large, or that supports a service delivery system in the public sectorWater, wastewater, or surface water management facilities or other related infrastructure.
The facility – upon completion – will be owned by the public entity that procured the bid.
According to the bill's summary: Public-private Partnerships; Authorizing certain public entities to contract for public service works with not-for-profit organizations; providing legislative findings and intent relating to the construction or improvement by private entities of facilities used predominantly for a public purpose; authorizing counties to enter into public-private partnership agreements for construction of roads under certain circumstances, etc became effective 7/1/13.
The bonding requirements under the new law follow Florida 255.05: Bond of contractor constructing public buildings; form; action by claimants.
Under the new law when the work is done in a P3 environment and the contract is for $100,000 or less, no payment and performance bond shall be required. At the discretion of the official or board awarding such contract when such work is done for any county, city, political subdivision, or public authority, a person entering into such a contract that is for $200,000 or less may be exempted from executing the payment and performance bond. When such work is done for the state, the Secretary of Management Services may delegate to state agencies the authority to exempt any person entering into such a contract amounting to more than $100,000 but less than $200,000 from executing the payment and performance bond. If an exemption is granted, the officer or official is not personally liable to persons suffering loss because of granting such exemption. The Department of Management Services shall maintain information on the number of requests by state agencies for delegation of authority to waive the bond requirements by agency and project number and whether any request for delegation was denied and the justification for the denial.