Friday, March 11, 2011
Ballard Administration Hits Taxpayers for $80 Per "Drive Safely" Sign; Contractor Makes Out While Taxpayers Foot the Hefty Bill
According to the Department of Public Works, the City contracted with Firehouse [Image Center] for the signs. (I can't find the contract in the city's database and didn't receive an answer when I asked why it wasn't there.) There was 543 signs ordered at a price of $43,466.45. That's an astonishing $80 a sign.
Most of the signs are simply attached to current traffic signs. (Which is undoubtedly illegal.) Others are placed on crudely constructed wooden frames. I was told that providing wood and the erection of the signs were done by contractors as part of the deal. (Firehouse probably would have contracted this out since it appears to just be a graphics company.) Still the wood and the work putting up the signs still would get it to nowhere near $80 apiece unless the workers are using limos to ride around town erecting signs while drinking champagne.
The contract was apparently not put up for bid. According to the Department of Public Works, Firehouse "was chosen because they are the only local firm able to meet the City's need." My sign expert laughed when he heard that claim. He said there were sign companies all over the city who could have produced the signs at a much, much cheaper price. DPW did point out that the company is a certified WBE, with Sally Corman as President. Terry Corman is listed as the CEO.
We taxpayers paid $80 each for signs that at best cost $10, signs, by the way, that were completely unnecessary. If Mayor Greg Ballard is truly watching out for taxpayers, as he claims, why would his administration enter into such a bad deal?