Open for Bids

RFQ for Special Services for Legal Counsel, Municipal Advisor, Marketing and PR, and Compliance and Monitoring 001-04-2024

Open for Bids

RFQ for Special Services for Legal Counsel, Municipal Advisor, Marketing and PR, and Compliance and Monitoring 001-04-2024

Summary

Service Type
Other
Bids Due
12/31/2024
Sector
Housing
State
Louisiana
Listing Date
04/09/2024

Project Description

The services to be provided may include, but are not limited to, the following:

General Counsel

  1. Advise FNO regarding state laws related to FNO and programs of FNO. 
  2. Advise FNO in delivery of loans and transfers of ownership and other real estate matters; 
  3. Advise the Commission regarding amendments to federal tax law, state law and indentures; 
  4. Advise the Commission regarding state administrative law and procedures; 
  5. Provide such other legal services as requested by FNO.

Bond Counsel on Single-family and Multifamily Programs

  1. Advise FNO concerning legal requirements applicable to the issuance and sale of bonds. 
  2. Prepare the necessary proceedings, notices and other documents for the issuance and sale of bonds; 
  3. Advise FNO concerning the requirements of state and federal securities laws relating to the necessary disclosure of factual and legal information with respect to such sales; 
  4. Prepare all necessary closing documents; 
  5. Consult with underwriters and financial advisors in the preparation of official statements in connection with the sale of the bonds; 
  6. Assemble transcripts concerning all proceedings and actions taken in connection with the issuance and sale of the bonds; 
  7. Provide the bond purchases with legal opinions concerning the nature of the bonds; 
  8. Advise on current regulations and legal tax code requirements regarding low-income set-asides; 
  9. Advise on IRS code rulings that may affect FNO’s policies, programs, or processes regarding bond issuance and post-bond issuance. 
  10. Advise FNO regarding amendments to federal tax law, state law and indentures; 
  11. Provide support and advice on cost efficiencies that may be achieved by less complex institutionally-placed bond issues; 
  12. Provide such other legal services as requested by FNO.

Special Counsel - Payments In Lieu Of Taxes (PILOT)

Proposers for Special Counsel roles for FNO programs such as Payment In Lieu Of Taxes may be considered in addition to the Bond Counsel roles. The services to be provided as special counsel would correspond to the specific set of legal services to be provided by the specific counsel role.

Special Counsel – Sales Tax Exemption

Proposers for Special Counsel roles for FNO programs such as a Sales Tax Exemption may be considered in addition to the Bond Counsel roles. The services to be provided as special counsel would correspond to the specific set of legal services to be provided by the specific counsel role.

Special Counsel on Sustainable Energy Program

Special Counsel on the Sustainable Energy Program submissions may be considered in addition to Bond Counsel roles. The services to be provided as special counsel would correspond to the specific set of legal services to be provided by the specific special counsel role. The services to be provided may include, but are not limited to, the following:

  1. Advise FNO concerning legal requirements applicable to the issuance and sale of bonds, affordable housing, green banking, real estate, and/or the implementation of Environmental, Social, and Governance (ESG) policies and standards; 
  2. Prepare the necessary proceedings, notices and other documents for the issuance and sale of bonds, affordable housing, green banking, real estate, and/or the implementation of (ESG) policies and standards; 
  3. Advise FNO concerning the requirements of state and federal laws, including federal security laws, relating to the necessary disclosure of factual and legal information with respect to the issuance and sale of bonds, affordable housing, green banking, real estate, and/or the implementation of (ESG) policies and standards; 
  4. Prepare all necessary closing documents; 
  5. Assist FNO with organizational due diligence review, and bond issuance oversight for any bonds or financing tools that may be used for financing energy efficiency or energy renewables; e.g., Qualified Energy Conservation Bonds (QECBs, 501(c)(3)s 
  6. Consult with underwriters and financial advisors in the preparation of official statements in connection with the sale of the bonds; 
  7. Assemble transcripts concerning all proceedings and actions taken in connection with the issuance and sale of the bonds; 
  8. Provide the bond purchases with legal opinions concerning the nature of the bonds; 
  9. Advise on current regulations and legal tax code requirements regarding low-income set-asides; 
  10. Advise on IRS code rulings that may affect FNO policies, programs, or processes regarding bond issuance and post-bond issuance; 
  11. Advise FNO regarding amendments to federal tax law, state law and indentures; 
  12. Provide support and advice on cost efficiencies that may be achieved by less complex institutionally-placed bond issues; and 
  13. Provide such other legal services as requested by FNO. 
  14. Assist FNO in analyzing state and federal legislation, including writing of desirable legislation or developing amendments to existing or proposed legislation.

Low-Income Housing Tax Credits

  1. Advise FNO concerning the legal and tax code requirements for the allocation of low- income housing tax credits including advising on policy and other programmatic recommendations as needed.
  2.  Advise the Commission concerning the legal and tax code requirements for FNO's compliance program for the recipients of tax credits. 
  3. Advise on IRS code of rulings that may affect Compliance policies, programs, or processes including research and advise on technical compliance issues. 
  4. Advise FNO in the delivery of loans and transfers or ownership and other real estate matters; 
  5. Provide such other legal services as requested by FNO

Municipal and Financial Advisors –

Qualified investment banking firms, brokers, dealers, and financial services entities or financial advisory firms that can provide design, financing, implementation and analytical support and guidance to FNO regarding issuance of municipal securities and/or municipal financial products.

Specifically:

  1. Structure green finance initiatives and products, including the issuance of municipal bonds with a focus on sustainability bonds, infrastructure bonds and long-term financial model development. 
  2. Structure transactions that aim to facilitate deployment of clean energy and sustainable infrastructure projects in New Orleans and reduce clean energy financing market gaps and barriers, consistent with FNO’s objectives and investment considerations, and advance the City of New Orleans' climate action goals, public health outcomes, green job creation, and economic development. 
  3. Provide comprehensive and cost effective analytical and advisory services on matters of financial planning, investment advisory services, money policies, and management; financial risk management; debt issuance and management; and other special project analyses to foster FNO’s financial interests, to promote FNO’s long-term financial strength, and to support providing decent, safe, and sanitary affordable housing to low- to moderate-income citizens. 
  4. Structure and achieve funding for its general capital needs and funding programs on an ongoing basis; this includes assisting FNO’s management team in designing a strategy for allocation, deployment and sourcing of capital.

Marketing and Public Relations

  1. Develop a strategic marketing plan that will complement FNO’s overall purpose, programs, and initiatives, and increase public awareness of the agency. 
  2. Establish streamlined FNO brand standards and templates which will be utilized for FNO’s website, social media pages, public notices, press releases, and communications. 
  3. Redesign and improve the user and mobile friendly interface of FNO’s website and social media pages to effectively disseminate data to the public and should apply to all form factors, including desktop, mobile, and tablet. The redesign of the website and social media pages should be easily updatable by FNO staff. The redesign should split programs into individual program awareness pages. Updated analytics of website/page traffic should be provided. 
  4. Provide public relations counsel, assistance, and execution. The Contractor will aid in promotion of FNO to respective audiences. The Contractor will commit to being available for any potential future crisis management plan with fees for that to be determined. 
  5. Develop and implement awareness campaigns to educate the public of FNO’s programs for public safety, quality of life, supplemental sanitation, and any other potential programs that may be created. Examples of these programs include:

▪ PILOT Program

▪ Single-family and Multifamily Programs

▪ Bond Financing Program

▪ Resilience

       6. Amplify public awareness of FNO to generate exposure and community engagement.

Compliance and Monitoring

FNO is seeking a consultant to provide compliance and monitoring assistance to support FNO’s compliance with its various programs, regulations, guidelines, and policies for programs including but not limited to: (1) Payment in Lieu of Tax (PILOT) Program, (2) Disadvantage Business Enterprise Program and related requirements, and (3) Affordable Housing covenants and related requirements. Assistance will include:

  1. Meeting with departmental staff to assess concerns and confirm methods for selecting files and conducting file audits. 
  2. Reviewing and updating FNO related agreements, policies, program guidelines, and regulations. 
  3. Reviewing, auditing and updating program/project files connected with FNO-funded projects. 
  4. Comparing content of departmental files with designated program checklists and other applicable federal regulations to determine completeness and compliance with requirements.
  5.  Make annual site visits to FNO projects to ensure compliance with program documents. 
  6. Preparing a final summary report of findings including recommendations to improve file completeness and enhance overall programmatic compliance.

Submission Requirements

Instructions: Respondents shall submit the following to Finance New Orleans, via email at , not later than December 31, 2024, 4:00 PM (CST). Hard copies or other electronic forms of submissions will not be accepted.

a. Offeror shall provide a digitally signed proposal as a PDF file, marked with the Specific Services provided;

b. Offeror shall also provide (as a PDF file) a signed cover letter including the company’s name, address and primary contact for the qualification proposal. The primary contact information shall include submitter’s name, telephone, and email address.

http://www.financeauthority.org. Proposals should clearly demonstrate the applicant’s qualifications to perform the needed services and attend all factors applicable in a professional relationship. Proposals should include detailed resumes or curricula vitae for the principals performing the services. Copies of the solicitation and related information are available from FNO’s website at

FNO will not accept proposals submitted by fax. All proposals must be received by FNO on or before the Delivery Deadline. FNO will not accept proposals delivered after the deadline. FNO will not credit delivery claims not clearly documented by original receipt.

Proposals MUST contain the following statement signed by the applicant or its authorized representative, “By responding to this RFQ, respondent agrees to FNO’s Required Contract Provisions as provided in Attachment “B” and therefore waives any future right to contest the required provisions.”

1. Scope of Services: Attachment “A” describes the needed services.

  1. Submission Information: Responses must be submitted in accordance with Attachment “B” of this RFQ.

  2. Evaluation and Selection: FNO will select the successful respondent(s) according to the procedures described in Attachment “C”.

  3. Contracting: FNO reserves the right to select multiple Contractors to perform any and/or all of the services requested herein. If FNO identifies a likely service provider(s), it may negotiate a final agreement with the provider(s) and fix the relationship by Professional Services contract. This contract will stipulate the terms and conditions of the services to be provided and will contain the standard FNO provisions shown in Attachment” D”.

  4. Ownership: All responses and all documentation submitted therewith are FNO property for all purposes. Applicants will clearly mark documents or information claimed exempt from public records disclosure and specifically justify the exemption.

FNO will not credit any blanket exemption claims lacking specific justification. FNO does not guarantee the confidentiality of submissions.

  1. Public Access to Information/Confidentiality: All information submitted in response to a solicitation issued by FNO shall remain confidential until after final approval and award is made.

Furthermore, FNO shall not disclose information submitted to FNO in confidence in response to a solicitation, and not otherwise required by law to be submitted, where such information should reasonably be considered confidential.

7. Effect: This Request for Qualifications and any related discussions or evaluations by anyone create no rights or obligations whatsoever. FNO may cancel or modify this solicitation at any time at will, with or without notice. Anything to the contrary notwithstanding, the Professional Services contract executed by FNO and the selected respondent, if any, is the exclusive statement of rights and obligations extending from this solicitation.

8. Additional Requirements: FNO reserves the right to amend the instructions, requirements, general and special conditions, scope of work, and specifications of this RFQ. In the event it becomes necessary to revise any part of the RFQ, addenda will be provided to all potential respondents who receive the RFQ.

9. Proprietary Information: Only information which is in the nature of legitimate trade secrets or non- published financial data may be deemed propriety or confidential. Any material within a proposal identified as such must be clearly marked as CONFIDENTIAL in the proposal and will be handled in accordance with the Louisiana Public Records Act, R.S. 44: 1-44 and applicable rules and regulations. Any proposal marked as confidential in its entirety may be rejected without further consideration or recourse.

10. Cost of Preparing Responses: FNO shall not be liable for any costs incurred by respondents prior to entering into a contract. Costs associated with developing the proposal, preparing for oral presentations, and any other expenses incurred by the respondent in responding to this RFQ are entirely the responsibility of the respondent and shall not be reimbursed in any manner by FNO.

11. Errors and Omissions in Proposal: FNO shall not be liable for any errors in responses. FNO, at its option, has the right to request clarification or additional information from the respondents.

12. Licensure: Where applicable, respondents must maintain licenses and permits to perform the contracted work in the State of Louisiana.

13. Compliance with All Applicable Laws: Any work completed pursuant to a response to this RFQ shall be governed by and construed in accordance with the laws and jurisprudence of the State of Louisiana. At the time of respondent’s submission of its RFQ response and at all times during the performance of any work pursuant to this RFQ, the respondent shall be in compliance with all applicable laws of the State of Louisiana, the United States and local ordinances, including licensure requirements.

14. Insurance: The selected respondent(s) will be required to provide:

I. Requirements

(a) The Contractor shall purchase in its name and maintain at its sole cost and expense, insurance as set out below. This insurance will provide primary coverage for claims and/or suits which may arise out of or result from the Contractor’s performance and/or furnishing of the services, whether performed and /or furnished by the Contractor, any sub-contractor, partner, supplier, or by anyone directly or indirectly employed by any of them to perform or furnish any of the work, goods, products or services, or by anyone for whose acts any of them may be liable. Any insurance carried by FNO shall be excess and not contributing insurance. The limits may be met by purchasing an umbrella or excess policy meeting both requirements.

(b) The total limit of insurance must be equal to or greater than the minimum acceptable not less than limits indicated below. If any policies contain a deductible or self-insurance retention, then the evidence of insurance for those policies shall disclose the deductible/ retention amount. Additionally, each line of insurance may have its own set of requirements that must be met. “CLAIMS MADE” POLICIES OF INSURANCE ARE NOT ACCEPTABLE for general liability but are acceptable for professional liability policies.

(c) The Executive Director & Chief Executive Officer and The Finance Authority of New Orleans (FNO) are hereby named as an Additional Insured.

(d) If the Contractor’s liability insurance program does not contain the standard ISO separation of insureds provision, or a substantially similar clause, then they shall be endorsed to provide Cross Liability coverage. (e) The Contractor shall endorse their policies (as applicable) to provide Wavier of Subrogation Endorsement to include written contracts in favor of FNO, its elected and appointed Officials, Board, Committees, agents, directors, servants, employees and volunteers.

Access the PDF file for all information below.

Questions & Clarifications

Will you select vendor to handle each section of the scope of work?
If an individual firm for each section, do you have a proposed/ intended budget for listed Marketing and Public Relations section/ services?
Are you looking for a brand new website or just a refresh? A refresh would mean that the existing site stays in place and the marketing vendor will update graphics, messaging, and usability, etc. while not doing a full overhaul.
Will we be exploring changes to the existing brand or just creating brand standards based on existing assets?
Questions 6 on Page 14 states: FNO seeks to extend subcontracting opportunities to City of New Orleans DBE Certified Disadvantage Business Enterprises (DBE's) in order to promote their economic growth. A DBE contract goal of thirty-five percent (35%) has been established for this contract. All firms should complete and submit the DBE participation form (Attachment G) and address the following: a. The names and address of all DBE firms that will participate in the contract; b. The commitment of the participation of each DBE firm participating in the contract on a basis of the percentage of the total dollar value of the contract; c. Written confirmation from the named DBE(s), verifying their participation in the contract as provided in the commitments made under (a) and (b) above; and d. If the contract goal is not met, evidence of best efforts. Attachment G then requires signature from the proposer on page 1 and while page 2 is focused on the DBE certified subcontractor it does not include a signature line. Would including the subcontractor’s signature under “DBE Firm Owner or Contract” allow us to be compliant with bullet c above?
Does our DBE partner need to be a New Orleans city certified DBE? Can they be outside of the city of New Orleans? Can they have other certifications like the National Gay and Lesbian Chamber of Commerce? Or can the partner simply be black owned, women owned, etc?