Costly Debris Removal Oversight

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Lack of Contract Adds Up to $1 Million to Cleanup

    Days after the August flooding, the City of Central discovered that it had not issued a debris removal contract for 2016, requiring the contract to be put out for bids after the disaster had occurred.  The contract was awarded to Crowder Gulf at a rate of $11.75 per cubic yard, 62% higher than the 2015 rate of $7.25. 
    Prior to 2016, Central had awarded a contract in the beginning of the year to avoid the higher cost of post-disaster bids. The pricing of Central’s 2015 contract was $7.25 per cubic yard for flood construction and demolition (C&D) debris removal.
    Central Speaks contacted Mayor Shelton to ask why no pre-disaster debris removal contract was in place for 2016.  The Mayor has not responded.
    As of October 27th, with debris removal not yet completed, the invoices for C&D debris removal at the $11.75 rate totaled $3.226 million.  The actual bid for a pre-disaster contract cannot be known, but at the $7.25 rate negotiated for 2015, the bill would have been $1.991 million, $1,235 million less. Five companies bid the 2015 contract at an average rate of $7.12 for C&D debris.
    When contacted, Jason Ottilage of Bergeron Services, the company who held Central’s 2015 contract, explained that when the contract expired multiple emails were sent to the City of Central in an effort to rebid the contract.
    Mr. Ottilage stated that they would have gladly rebid the contract, and that their pricing has changed very little since the prior contract rate was “industry standard.”  Bergeron Services, a Florida company, was unaware of the emergency bidding of the contract in the days after the 2016 flood.
    FEMA will likely reimburse 90% of Central’s flood cleanup expenses, meaning that 90% of any additional costs incurred by failing to have a pre-disaster contract in place will be funded by Federal tax dollars.