Public-Private Partnership Law Creates New Procurement Method
HB 85, passed by the Florida Legislature is expected to be signed into law by the Governor. HB 85 creates a new Florida Statute, Section 287.05712, Public-Private Partnerships. Upon becoming law, Section 287.05712 will usher in a new procurement method in the State of Florida. Namely, the "unsolicited proposal".
Traditionally, public agencies in Florida accept bids by way of an Invitation for Bid, Request for Proposals, or Request for Qualifications. These traditional procurement methods typically define the project for bidders to respond to. In the case of an "unsolicited proposal", it will be up to the bidder to define the project for the public agency’s consideration. After the effective date of the new law, public agencies will be authorized to receive and consider unsolicited proposals for a "qualifying project" as defined therein.
Public agencies will be authorized to establish a reasonable application fee which is intended to cover the cost of evaluating the proposal. If the public agency intends to enter into an agreement in relation to an unsolicited proposal, it must provide notice of no less than 21 days and up to 120 days before entering into an agreement in order to allow other bidders to submit a proposal. Thereafter, the new law provides for a more traditional process for the evaluation, ranking and ultimate contract award.
The spirit and intent of the new law has been widely reported on during this past Legislative Session. While the public necessity for the new law is driven by virtue of the need for private funding of much needed public works projects, the codification and authority for public agencies to accept unsolicited proposals is a key component of the process.