Was fuzzy math used in bid tabulation for 6th Street Bunker Bridge?

There has been much discussion and consternation over the bridge. Two years ago we replaced the 8th street bridge with more decorative elements for $8 million. So how is it that the new rebuild will be $21 million? Some argue that it has to do with the multiple steps in this rebuild. Some argue inflation. Others have told me that since it is ARPA money they need to shove it out the door. There has been requests (not by me) that the Council does it’s own independent audit and investigation (they have this ability in the charter) or that the Feds should look into RICO violations. Others in the private engineering sector have all come to the same conclusion; this ‘deal’ probably didn’t magically come together by itself but with collusion and pressure from certain downtown developers and contractors.

Rumors be damned!

One of the sticking points the Public Works Director Mark Cotter used to trick the city council into voting for the Bunker Bridge was that is was unsafe. Holes have been blown into that argument;

And in the most recent inspection of the Sixth Street Bridge, done in 2020, inspectors assigned its overall structural integrity a 4 based on a 0-9 grading system, according to a review of data by The Dakota Scout. While not great, a 4 means a bridge “meets minimum tolerable limits to be left in place as is,” according to federal criteria.

But it didn’t take Joe and Jon needling thru Federal Safety inspections to see the obvious; if this bridge is so unsafe why have they allowed large heavy machinery and building materials to go across this bridge all summer? Even Councilor Neitzert pointed out at the meeting, if it is so bad, why don’t you close it?

I decided to dig thru the bid tabulation sheet to see if I could find any wiggle room, this is what I found;

• Mobilization: $4,341,000

• Temporary Works: $2,610,000

I have no doubt these are actual expenses but I find that the two biggest expenditures in this bid are NOT broken down. This would be a very easy place to pad the bid. I think council needs to ask the contractor to break this down for them.

• Class A45 Concrete, Bridge Deck: $4,914,420

Concrete will be a big expenditure for this bridge, but with the way that prices are fluctuating it would be hard to say this is actual. Heck, it could be more or this number could also be padded.

I also would like to go into some smaller numbers that really make you scratch your head;

• Benches: 3 at $4,000 each

Looks like I need to get into the steel bench making business!

• Relocate LSS Monument Sign: $25,000

Seems the sign relocation business is very lucrative also (they probably run a side business making benches).

• Sprinkler System: $56,000

Just in case the bike trail catches on fire and doesn’t spread to the concrete bridge.

• Water Meter & Backflow Assembly with Enclosures: 2 at $7,500 each.

Not sure if they are planning on opening a laundromat or spray park on the bridge itself?

• Waterfowl Grazing Control: $4,700

You might as well throw this money in a burn barrel, because whatever they are doing currently on this part of the bike trail downtown ISN’T WORKING!!!!!!

Not to mention how many more millions will we have to endure with change orders? There have been rumors that the Water Reclamation Plant is extremely over budget due to change orders. But hey, we needed a dented up entertainment facility more then clean water.



22 comments ↓

#1 "Woodstock" on 01.23.23 at 3:05 am

“I love fuzzy math, it makes ‘me feel all warm and fuzzy inside'”….

FF: 12:02

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=F4neLJQC1_E

#2 Very Stable Genius on 01.23.23 at 3:18 am

‘Dave’ is a great movie. But isn’t that the movie also where the vice-President is a former shoe salesman?…. Like that could ever happen. 😉

#3 Archie Bunkerramp on 01.23.23 at 3:29 am

I see a theme here. What’s next, a Bunker Park? What about a Bunker Road, or how about a Bunker Hill? That might be where the skirmish could all begin. No wonder there’s a need for a Bunker Ramp, but a Bunker Bridge? Lexington and Concord were about the British coming, but all I see now are the cows coming home. So, isn’t it about time to get real and bunker down?

#4 Barbara on 01.23.23 at 9:03 am

Sure is funny they find all this extra cash but refuse to pay overtime for snow removal forcing crews to remove snow during peak travel times. Makes cents.

#5 Tony on 01.23.23 at 9:55 am

Would like to see a breakdown of mobilization and temp structures. The rest of the items do look about right if you know prices of commercial items. Do a google search and you can see.

#6 Mike Lee Zitterich on 01.23.23 at 11:41 am

Until the “people” hold the Council accountable, the people are also the problem here. Keep in mind, the Mayor’s Office and City Council Office and the People have identical and equal powers here.

You cannot blame the Mayor, without first blaming yourselves first, and you cannot blame the council without also blaming yourselves. As a community, ‘we’ have become complacent, and passive in our duties.

I have been perhaps the strongest voice in front of the Council to utilize Section 2.09 more often, more frequently, and to organize the “Precincts” within the Community itself to better hold outside conversations, meetings, to organize the people to hold special elections to adopt resolutions, initiatives to enforce the “charter”.

Section 2.09 is our “right” to investigate City Departments, Offices, the officials, officers, managers, city staff to subpoena not only witnesses, but public records, documents, creating public testimony.

Three issues that need to be addressed here, and they may include not only the 6th Street Bridge, but also the 10th Street Public Parking Ramp as both can be tied together in one investigation to audit, review, and to discuss our Public Bid Process, our Sales Tax Revenues, Property Tax Revenues, Foreign Monies, let alone simply opening up the Financial Books, to go line by line of all items related to the investigative topic(s).

We created our Operation and Audit Committees for this purpose, so any such investigation would derived from one of those committees, let alone a Special Investigation must be public, and place both sides on a public trial.

Keep in mind, there are some things that must remain private (beyond a court order), however, during the investigation, they can go into executive session to discuss that information, to gain more knowledge of, which then can create discussion around the data.

Honestly, the economy is so bad right now, Inflation is most likely closer to 25%, causing labor costs to skyrocket, let alone the price of land, natural resources, minerals, aka the Steel itself.

But if the people remain passive, leading to a passive group of actors on the city council, ‘we’ have ourselves to blame, and nothing will change, cause City Officials, Officers, City Staff all begin to believe they are doing a great job, let alone they are above all of us, even the Mayor and City Council themselves.

We control the mayors pay, the council’s salaries, but there is NO means in our Charter to control the wages and salaries of Department Heads, Managers, and City Staff, and there should be, their wages and benefits must be capped just as well.

Scott is correct, there is a rumor, “Those who cannot make it in the private sector, go to the public sector”

Ever heard the phrase: ” those cant do for themselves, become teachers” Meaning, if they cannot make it in the private sector, they gravitate to the public sector profiting off of public tax dollars, gaining huge salaries, guaranteed pensions and health benefits.

On trial here, should be our Public Bid Process, State and Local Tax Dollars (surpluses), Cost Analysis, the Process of Planning Public Works Projects.

I am NOT saying Mark Cotter is a bad guy, he has done a very decent and good job since 2006, he explains things very well, and he manages the department very well. Could this have been discovered 2 years ago? I dont know.

Being in the automotive industry myself, repair and sales, inflation has harmed my industry greatly, and the slowness of obtaining inventories, has led to an inflated period of where the DEMAND is not keeping up with Supply, which increases prices …

But, we will never know its true effects if we are NOT willing to enforce Charter Section 2.09 …

“WE” must see the data, know the data, understand the data, if we are to move forward establishing budgets, plans going forward.

#7 D@ily Spin on 01.23.23 at 1:00 pm

The budget for this bridge could have built another empty parking tower and more worthless railroad yards.

#8 Gaye Wead on 01.23.23 at 1:53 pm

“…DEMAND is not keeping up with Supply, which increases prices …”

?

#9 Edna on 01.23.23 at 2:13 pm

I bet they used that Common Core Math. Back in my day, Arithmetic was the standard.

#10 Steve on 01.23.23 at 3:08 pm

Barbara, plow drivers worked 12 hour shifts for weeks on end. You think they did that without OT?

#11 l3wis on 01.23.23 at 3:54 pm

Steve and Barbara, I have no idea what the OT pays, but I do know there are different differentials when it comes to working nights, weekends and holidays. The city also has used retired city employees to plow streets which probably saves them money in OT. It would be an interesting to have a presentation from the street department explaining how it works.

#12 l3wis on 01.23.23 at 3:55 pm

At the special meeting tomorrow in the consent agenda they do have new contracts with snow removal for private snow removal contractors.

#13 Agitator on 01.23.23 at 4:48 pm

A check on Google shows the lone contractor that bid the 6th street bridge is located at the same address as Journey Construction Group. Me thinks that answers some of the above comments. Remember they weren’t held accountable for anything on the Copper Building Collapse.

#14 Steve on 01.24.23 at 8:53 am

Plow drivers working 12 hours a day, 7 days a week. If you can’t do the math and figure out that’s more than 40 hours, I can’t help you.

#15 Mike Lee Zitterich on 01.24.23 at 2:54 pm

You do not get paid “Over Time” let alone a “wage” as a sub-contractor. Many of these companies are 1 person operations who help to move snow in residential and commercial areas. A “Contract” is a set “FEE” or commission per contractor, those who sub-contract out to 2 or more persons within the main contract, simply “Split” the FEE as per the agreement between those persons.

So, if I agree to pay you $100 dollars to plow your parking lot, and you therefore extend that out to pay 4 drivers @ $15 dollars each, thus dividing the parking lot into 4 sections, there is NO “WAGE” nor over time.

The City basically pays you $100 dollars, you keep $40.00 and split $60 among 4 drivers, etc.

#16 Steve on 01.24.23 at 10:36 pm

Mike, you have absolutely no idea what you are talking about. The drivers who work for the city are paid overtime on any hours worked past 40 hours, as federally mandated. For Barbara to claim no overtime is being paid is almost as ridiculous as your made up story, even with the unnecessary quotes and capitalization of random words.

#17 Mike Lee Zitterich on 01.25.23 at 7:26 am

Oh Steve, you get so worked up over comments made by others, you claim I do not know what I am talking about, however, I may know more about the situation than you think I do. Funny how you come at me, when I only spoke on “Sub-Contractors” not city employees, but to refute your silly argument:

1) City Employees who choose to provide their Labor during Snow Removal have the ability to work O.T

2) Employees working 12 hour shifts 7 days a week, and who work 84 Hours, earn an extra 44 Hours for that week.

3) Those 44 hours translate to 44 x 1.5 = 66 Hours x Rate of Their Rate of Pay.

4) City Employees have the option to take the “Pay” or to add the 66 Hours to their Vacation Time.

5) Many Employees may elect to Flex those hours out as additional Vacation Days, thus giving them extra time of later in the year, mainly the summer months.

6) In order to avoid the O.T Pay, the City may also choose to SUB-CONTRACT additional hours out to Private Companies, who simply contract the “JOB” in Blocks of Time.

7) The City may contract My Company to provide my service to clear Residential Area @ $100 dollars each.

8) I may the right to sub-contract that “parts of that area” by paying 3 drivers $15 dollars each, while I do the 4th Section of that area keeping $55 dollar of the $100.

There is NO “O.T Rate of Pay” in a Contract, The city simply agrees to pay a Company Blocks of Time.

Now, I have a choice, I either contract my workers as “Employees” or as “Sub-Contracted Help”. It would be cheaper for me to simply contract out 2 additional Helpers @ $15 dollars Each to help clear snow in the Contracted “Area”.

Everyone has a choice to do a W-4 or W-9.

You need to relax, and stop being so abrasive towards your fellow residents.

#18 Steve on 01.25.23 at 11:45 am

Funny how much you got wrong there, but ok.

#19 Steve on 01.25.23 at 11:48 am

I was going to correct all the errors in your post, but the reality is probably 10 people total read it anyway.

#20 Fear & Loathing in Sioux Falls on 01.25.23 at 7:32 pm

They claim that McCarthy is the first Kevin to have ever had power, but what about a Steve? #BetterAskKevin #SteveForbes

#21 The Guy From Guernsey on 01.26.23 at 12:11 pm

Since the era of in-the-dark-of-the-night overspending actions by Mumbling Munson to complete Phillips To The Falls, the bureaucrats in City Hall have always used fuzzy math for projects associated with DTSF.
Itemized is $7.50 for removal of 75 pavement markings, yet nearly 1/3 of the bid total is undefined?
Eerily similar to the undefined costs associated with one of the Big Sioux River Greenway projects, not coincidentally completed to the benefit of one of the same kings of collecting welfare-to-developers.
Recall Cooper’s response to a challenge to divulge the specifics which represented those charges? The reply – “amenties”.

#22 Angry Guy on 01.31.23 at 4:43 pm

Steve is the TLDR for Mikey’s posts.
Thanks