After many EC contractors I have spoken with told me about some of the stupid change orders, I think an audit would be wise.
And BTW, thanks Rex! We’ve been sitting here taking in your church dirt example of construction billing fraud. Interesting parallels to Kermit’s construction cost and labor questions at the Denny.
With an over budget indoor pool being built in the same billing method as the Denny, we need to really work the audit process. How many hidden dirt piles are we paying for? How may phantom employees did we pay?
If the siding came in under budget and we have thousands of gallons of water ready to flow through the walls, who audits the construction process? Every contractor willing to talk off the record (you know they won’t go on the record and survive in this town) says the siding was installed incorrectly. How do we get it audited?
Has Mortenson been paid everything? What’s the story on MJ Dalsin?
BTW, if any of our workers, builders and suppliers want to continue helping us with this construction audit, drop us a line. You will not be the only source for the answers to the questions we have. For those who have helped so, thank you. We are not done looking for the answers to the $117,000,000.00 questions.
So thanks again Rex for helping with the right answers to Kermit’s audit requests. We hope your church was able to settle the dirt.
While the city does raise quite a bit, I think the fee should be higher to help cover maintenance more. Dare I suggest $2 a ticket? When you have people pay hundreds of dollars per ticket to the artist/promoter or scalper, I think $2 per ticket is nothing;
Approximately $300,000 in Public Facility Ticket Fees were collected in 2014. The Public Facility Ticket Fee is charged on all paid admissions to events at the Events Center, Sioux Falls Arena and Sioux Falls Convention Center and all other sports or entertainment facilities having a fixed seating capacity in excess of 2,500 people. The ticket fee is not charged on events held at facilities owned by any school district, county or non-profit educational or religious institutions. The City currently has agreements with SMG to operate the Events Center, Arena, and Convention Center and with the Sioux Falls Canaries Professional Baseball Club (the Club) to operate the Stadium.
The Public Facility Ticket Fees serve as a way for the City and facility operators to mitigate the cost of maintaining the City’s entertainment and sports venues. Updating the current ordinance and agreements will help simplify the collection and remittance of fees and allow operators the flexibility they need for day to day operations. City management appears to have a good working relationship with both operators and on March 17, 2015 City Council approved a resolution approving the change of control of the Sioux Falls Baseball Stadium Agreement from the Sioux Falls Canaries Professional Baseball Club, LLC to Mankato Baseball, LLC. We would like to thank SMG, the Sioux Falls Canaries, and City management and staff for their cooperation and assistance during the audit.
Many people may or may not know that the city has an internal auditor. Mr. Rich Oskol is probably (as I tell many people) one of the most valuable city employees. I have often told city councilors and residents he does a fine job with such a small staff, especially with his enormous workload.
But does Mr. Oskol make mistakes? Not sure, but I would guess once in awhile he misses a decimal point. Accounting isn’t an easy task, especially reviewing other people’s work. It was the only HS course I dropped out of. Maybe that is why it has taken me almost 42 years to get my finances in order?
I think it would be safe to assume that Mr. Oskol and his team have audited the Sioux Falls landfill finances at least once since 2009 (When Dan’s garbage service fees started piling up). If this is the case, did Rich make them aware that they probably should be collecting fees from Dan’s Service because they are mounting? Not sure if he did, but I have read several of Rich’s audits of city departments, if anything, Rich is very thorough. He also has the power, granted to him in the city charter, to look at any department’s books without permission, at any time. He reports only to the city council. If the city council called Rich on Monday morning and asked him to start an audit immediately of the city landfill, all Rich would have to do is walk into their office with a two-wheel cart and haul away the filing cabinets, and that department couldn’t do a damn thing to stop him.
Hopefully that phone call will be made Monday morning.
But there is a bigger issue here. Let’s give Mr. Oskol the benefit of the doubt, and let’s say he did recommend that the uncollected fees troublesome and the Landfill should act immediately, that doesn’t mean they have to. Oskol reviews and advises, he may have the authority to wheel off filing cabinets but he can’t make any department head fix a problem. In fact, I do recall a few times where they didn’t, or they tried a different solution.
So it comes back to a question of competence. Who in the city landfill department, or even in the finance or attorney’s offices let this go for so long? And if they haven’t already been terminated, they probably should be.
Sure we can blame Dan, but that’s a whole other story. I think it would be safe to assume the city will not be able to collect all of those fees. The best approach at this point would be to wipe them off the books and put Dan out of business. A court battle will only drain more city resources and really isn’t worth the effort.
The irony of all this is how the city has handled other cases of uncollected ‘fees and fines’;
• An over 8 year court battle which ended up in Supreme Court (in which the city lost) over a couple hundred dollar fine and a cement pad. I can’t even begin to fathom what that costed taxpayers in city resources to fight. In fact two of the city attorneys who worked on the case have been terminated.
• Jailing a resident for 6 hours over a pile of shingles IN HIS FENCED OFF YARD. (of course the county paid that incarceration and court bill) That person also beat the city in court.
• Fining a city employee’s private business over a dumpster enclosure.
• Warning a retired veteran and his wife about a potential fine if they did not remove day lilies from the boulevard.
Yeah, I know what you are thinking, these are code enforcement issues, but isn’t over $250K in unpaid landfill fees a cause for some kind of authority in city hall to do something about it? How are flowers in the boulevard and piles of shingles more concerning then this enormous amount of unpaid fees?
They are not. It is about city employee’s priorities. They seem to put vindictiveness and vendettas against residents over collecting fees.
If I sat on our city’s fine legislative body, the city council, I would be in an uproar. If you think that department heads are tired of swatting away the flies when it comes to the EC siding, they would see a full on bee attack from me as a councilor.
The city council needs to demand an immediate review and presentation from the landfill department as to how this happened, and how the problem will be corrected and lastly who will be reprimanded or terminated over the incident. It’s called ACCOUNTABILITY, something city hall thinks they are immune to.
It also makes you wonder if Dan is the only one that has delinquent fines? That’s a whole other can of worms.
As far as I am concerned this may have nothing to do with Mr. Oskol missing a decimal point, this may have to do with blatant and rampant incompetence. Instead of city directors knocking off at 3:50 PM on a Friday afternoon to enjoy a delicious micro brew at that local watering hole*, maybe they need to take an accounting of there day, week, month, heck decade in the final hours of their work week?
*About a month ago I saw four different city directors/managers drinking beers at a downtown bar at this time, and a manager of a city owned entertainment facility. Even more troubling was they weren’t even drinking together (well maybe that isn’t such a bad thing).
Instead of designated precincts, voters will be able to cast their ballot at any voting center located throughout the city.
Great idea, way overdue. But I’m wondering why Abbott and Costello get to toot their horns about this? This was something that was probably sitting in both of their IN baskets the first day they took office. And by looks of Litz’s office (watch the video) he needs to decorate with something besides cardboard boxes and manilla folders. I’m just saying.