Who really ‘Cleaned Up’ during the ice storm?

Well, there is a least one good thing that came from the ice storm, during the city council meeting last night, Finance Director, Tracy Turbak admitted that we will ‘probably’ be getting FEMA money, after the State and FEMA evaluate the city’s expenses associated with the cleanup. But we probably won’t be compensated until 2014.

So please, let’s drop it.

If you watch last night’s  meeting what stuck out was how much money went towards ‘private contractors’ (DOC: ICESTORM )

Out of the $9 million total cost of cleanup, $6.2 million went to hire private contractors. City Personnel costs were only $1.1 million. This kind of surprised me, because if you were following our local media, listening to the mayor or city council, they were throwing out Kudos to city employees and volunteers like root beer candies at a Fourth of July parade.

Sure, there was a ‘mention’ of private contractors ‘helping out’ but not to this extent. Two-Thirds of the total cost went towards them.

On a positive note, that is REAL economic impact. Unfortunately many of the contractors were from out of state, and that money won’t be recirculated into our community.

But one wonders how much of this money made some local contractors very rich, very quick?

No doubt, the city could not have cleaned up this storm on their own, and independent contractors were needed, but I think in the future there should be a constingency plan put in place for such emergencies to make sure contractors are not gouging tax payers or individual property owners.

Without a doubt the city with the help of the private contractors did a fine job of cleaning up our city so quickly, but why do I feel like the ‘cleanup’ took us to the ‘cleaners’?


#1 Stiles Bitchley on 06.12.13 at 10:15 pm

“Without a doubt the city with the help of the private contractors did a fine job of cleaning up our city so quickly, but why do I feel like the ‘cleanup’ took us to the ‘cleaners’?”

Why do you feel that way? Correct me if I’m wrong, but isn’t it your avocation; to find something to complain about in everything that happens that is connected with the city? Like my old man would say, “You’d bitch if you were hung with a new rope.”

#2 Detroit Lewis on 06.13.13 at 12:41 pm

Just asking questions, that’s all I am doing. I just find it a little strange the 2/3rds the cost of cleanup went to private contractors. Do I think 9 million was pretty cheap for all that was accomplished? Yep. But I had first hand experience of a contractor overcharging me on labor, and I called them out on it. I have also heard stories of homeowners hiring different contractors to do the same work. One guy hired 3 different tree trimming contracts at different times. One of them charged 3x more then the other two did. I just have a little trouble believing the city got a fair shake on all of the contracted work. Now I am not saying ALL contractors were screwing people, and obviously some did better work then others. But I would love to see the invoices.

#3 rufusx on 06.13.13 at 11:16 pm

Actually – a great deal of the $$ that will be going to those private contractors has already been spent in the city. They all stayed in hotels (and some still are) for WEEKS. I saw a few of them in the grocery stores late at night. they spent a lot at restaurants, bars gas stations,…….. Get a clue DL. May 20% of the $6.2 MM will go and be spent elsewhere. these guys are like gypsies following disasters around the country.

#4 Hammerhead on 06.14.13 at 9:34 am

A couple of years ago a local company cut down a tree in our yard. This week I got an estimate from the same company do to the same time on a smaller tree and the estimate more than doubled. Lost a lot of respect for this business, but they are probably gouging everyone else.

#5 Detroit Lewis on 06.14.13 at 10:22 am

HH- I want to be clear, I am not saying all the contractors gouged people during the storm, I have actually heard of some of them charging less then what they normally do just to help out some people with lower incomes. But like I said, it would be interesting to look at invoices and do comparisons.

Ruf- You need to get a clue, if you think they only took 20%, You are crazy. I have had several friends who do traveling contracting, they have most of their paychecks put into savings because when they are on the road, they have NO time to spend the money.

#6 rufusx on 06.16.13 at 11:30 am

We’re talking two different levels of “paycheck” here DL. The $30/day perdiem those guys (me having been among them as well as your other friends) DOES get spent on meals, beer, etc. The $120/day on hotel rooms DOES get spent. The $200-300/day for fuel and repairs etc. for the equipment DOES get spent. Do the $13/hr employees spend all their money here? No – but they’re a small part of the $20$300/hour the business gets paid.