Consultant Services updates
Legislative Changes to Preference Points and Equity Select
The State made two major contracting changes in the 2023 legislative session to help promote certified, small Minnesota-owned businesses that have historically experienced economic challenges. These changes increased preference point percentages and the Equity Select threshold, effective July 1, 2023. The new legislation can be found in Minnesota Statutes 16C.16, subdivisions 6, 6a, and 7, as seen via the links on the Minnesota Revisor’s website to the Laws of Minnesota 2023, Chapter 62, Article 2, Sections 77 – 79.
Click here for additional information: Legislative Changes to Preference Points and Equity Select
Travel (Meal) Reimbursement (July 2023)
Effective July 1, 2023 the travel regulations for Professional Technical contracts will align with the Commissioner’s Plan. With that change, the reimbursable meal rates will increase slightly. The new meal rates will be:
Breakfast $10 | Lunch $13.00 | Dinner $19.00
These updated rates will automatically apply to contracts in place for services rendered after July 1, 2023.
- Effective for services rendered after July 1, 2023 only. For example on an existing contract, if a consultant is compiling their invoice in July, for services that were rendered in June, they should be billing the June travel regulations.
- In order to receive the higher rates for services rendered after July 1, 2023, the consultant must include the updated rates when submitting an invoice. MnDOT will not return invoices that include the previous Travel Regulation amounts. Invoices will be paid according to what is billed on each invoice.
- The total contract amount cannot be exceeded. Please budget accordingly. MnDOT will not process amendments for meal increases only. The rates can be updated if an amendment is being processed for other changes to the contract.
Invoice Reminder | Fiscal Year End Breakdown
When submitting invoices around the fiscal year end, if your billing period includes costs for both June and July, please provide a fiscal year split of the costs on the invoice (billed through June 30 and billed starting July 1).
Fiscal Year 2024 Audit Pilot Program
MnDOT Audit will be administering an Audit Pilot Program in fiscal year 2024 (July 1, 2023 – June 30, 2024). This pilot program will conduct annual audits by consultant instead of program and contract-based audits. The goal of this pilot program is to eliminate duplicate audits being conducted, streamline the audit process, and improve accessibility. Here is a preview of what the pilot program will look like: Fiscal Year 2024 Audit Pilot Program | Annual Overhead Audit by Consultant
Travel (Mileage) Reimbursement (January 2023)
Starting January 1, 2023, the standard IRS mileage rate for business use of a personal vehicle is increasing to .655 (cents) per mile. This new rate should be used for all contracts and consultant billing from January 1, 2023.
MnDOT Safe Harbor Program (June 2022)
In 2019, the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) approved the use of the Safe Harbor Overhead Rate Program for the consultant overhead rate calculation with a cap of 110%. The purpose of this program is to allow time for engineering consulting firms to satisfy the requirements of Part 31 of the Federal Acquisition Regulation for Overhead Calculations.
In 2022, MnDOT established a Safe Harbor Program for use with consultant contracts. Consulting firms that provide engineering and design-related services on fixed hourly rate contracts may be eligible to enroll in MnDOT’s Safe Harbor Program. This program allows a consulting firm to use MnDOT’s established Safe Harbor Overhead Rate of 110.00% of direct labor for the first two years that it is under contract to work with MnDOT.
To participate in the Safe Harbor Program, consultants must certify their intent and commitment to actively work with an accountant or bookkeeper to establish an accounting system, using QuickBooks or similar software.
- Additional information on how to participate: Safe Harbor Program Quick Look (PDF)
Solicitation Language for Contracting with Community-Based Organizations (February 2022)
MnDOT has developed recommended language that could be used in lieu of (or in addition) to the existing solicitation language when interested in contracting or sub-contracting with Community-Based Organizations (CBOs) for engagement/communications work activities.
- View the language recommendations: Solicitation Language Recommendations for Contracting with Community Based Organizations (Word)