MIAMI—Public-private partnerships (P3s) are nothing new, butwith major infrastructure projects rising across the Southeast thenature of some P3 projects is changing—and accounting firms aresmack dab in the middle of the fray.

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Globest.com caught up with Darryl Sharpton, CEOof The Sharpton Group, a Miami-based account firm,to get his take on public private partnerships in the new era inpart one of this exclusive interview. Be sure to come back thisafternoon for part two, in which Sharpton will discuss the mostexciting projects he sees in the area and what real estatedevelopers should do before they begin assembling funding for aproject.

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GlobeSt.com: You have been an accounting firm for 30years. Why are you shifting your model now?

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Sharpton: We are not so much shifting our modelas we are sharpening our focus. With more investment pouring intoSouth Florida than any other metropolitan region in the US, thereis a growing need for trusted oversight in the areas ofconstruction, budget management, and operations.

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As a locally based, independent consulting firm with anunderstanding of the regional economy and political landscape, webelieved we were well equipped to fill this void. To this end, weare enhancing our consultancy work while still maintainingtraditional accounting services, such as audit and operationalreview.

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GlobeSt.com: How do you evaluate the economic impactof a major infrastructure project?

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Sharpton: Analyzing the economic impact of aparticular project typically involves accessing a wide range offinancial and economic data to generate estimates of economicoutput, GDP, employment, and tax revenues associated with changesin the level of economic activity resulting from the project orindustry being analyzed. Our team then methodically selectsappropriate multipliers to the underlying data to determine theoverall economic impact a project would bring to a region both atthe outset and over time.

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GlobeSt.com: How has this cycle fueledpublic-private partnerships in a way that wasn't being donebefore?

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Sharpton: During the recession, stategovernments increasingly turned to public-private partnerships(P3s) to finance new infrastructure projects or maintain existingassets. As our economy recovers and new investment pours in,municipalities have continued to view P3s as a viable strategy forsustaining growth and filling persistent budget gaps.

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While this approach has helped usher in many critical projectsotherwise impossible to fund, with it comes a greaterresponsibility for oversight. All states that permit privatelyfinanced P3 contracts impose rules to ensure accountability andprotect the public from poorly designed financial agreements.

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