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New State Law Regarding Unsolicited Proposals Prompts Changes in Local Government Codes

Lucas Pizzutti

Conceptual Image of a person in front of laptop checking off things on a list.On June 12, 2024, the City of Miami Gardens passed an ordinance that updates its municipal code to reflect new processes for unsolicited proposals and Public-Private Partnerships (“P3”) now allowed by statute. As we have mentioned in a previous blog post, the Florida legislature recently passed HB 781, a bill that sets out new procedures related to unsolicited proposals. In summary, HB 781 allows local governments to proceed with an unsolicited proposal without having to go through a competitive solicitation process, if the local governments abide by a number of additional steps as outlined in the statute. The traditional process of going through a competitive solicitation is still available, but HB 781 gives local governments added flexibility to achieve their goals. Local governments have now started updating their codes to better reflect what is allowed by state statute, and more broadly, making changes that reflect a better understanding of P3’s in general.

The ordinance that was passed in Miami Gardens highlights the fact that the process of keeping a municipality’s code up to date with P3 innovations is a constant one. Back in 2022, “the City adopted Ordinance No. 2022-001-442, creating the policy and procedures for the City to engage in Public-Private Partnerships pursuant to F.S. § 255.065.” The current ordinance now updates that portion of the City’s code to reflect what is now allowed by HB 781. Other local governments have parts of their code that deal with P3’s and unsolicited proposals as well, such as Miami-Dade County and the City of Miami, but as of this article, those codes have not been updated to reflect the changes made by HB 781. It is important to note that local governments do not need to update their codes in order to take advantage of the new process; they can operate directly under the statute. However, the fact that some local governments are updating their codes is a good indicator that concepts such as P3’s and unsolicited proposals are becoming more well accepted in Florida. For example, Miami Gardens is not alone in making changes to their internal policies to better adapt them to P3’s. Recently, the City of Crescent City has begun the work of updating their Master Plan. As a part of that, the Master Plan outlines six overarching principles, one of which is to “promote public-private partnerships through redevelopment initiatives such as quality public spaces for events, recreation opportunities, and infrastructure”. This shows that even smaller municipalities are becoming aware of P3’s as a delivery model for projects, and are integrating them into their vision for the future of their communities.

Hopefully, as local governments all around the state and country become more educated on P3’s and associated processes, we will start seeing more and more updates to codes to reflect the increased familiarity and understanding. This codification and familiarity with the law, will signal to potential outside private partners that the local government entity is a sophisticated player that understands P3’s. This, in turn, will pave the way for more P3’s that will help bring needed improvements all throughout the state. 

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