Some may ask why the city even has an engineering department. Well, for starters they identify projects and determine the best way forward to tackle the project. At least they used to.
Building anything big like a bridge, a swimming pool or an Events Center, you likely would use several subcontractors. The contractor chose to do the bridge project awarded by the council last night on a 6-2 vote (Neitzert and Starr dissenting) will likely have to job out different subcontractors to complete the work that includes demolition, utility work and actually constructing the bridge. The engineering department could have easily broke this project up to make it more appealing to bidders and probably would have saved the city millions.
It wasn’t just the incompetence of the administration and the city council that approved this blindly, it was an utter failure of the Public Works department to NOT take another approach to this to save taxpayers money.
Then there are the questionable and cozy relationships certain contractors have with the city, and that was on full display last night when the council approved this 100% cost overrun with only ONE bid. (Councilors Merkouris and Barranco also changed their votes the last minute I’m assuming to save the Mayor from casting the tie-breaker, which he would have broke and approved).
The precedent set last night by this council and administration was not good and the genie is now fully out of the bottle. Infrastructure projects in Sioux Falls are going to become very, very expensive moving forward.