City council is poised to give us another one of their unwanted presents in their final regular meeting of the year.
As part of the quality of life projects the city is going to add a “Chihuahuan Desert Project” to our zoo. The agenda includes an item to award a design and consulting contract to a firm from Missouri to handle this project.
The firm will develop the concept, design the facility, and oversee the construction of the facility. Actual construction will be a separate contract.
They will do all of this for a mere $1,323,000 plus expenses. Expenses include travel. From the attachments:
Meals (Food Costs): Meal receipts are not required. Actual costs are allowable up to a maximum Per Diem allowance of $51.00 per day or current State of Texas rate applicable at the time cost is incurred. Meals are only reimbursable with overnight lodging away from headquarters. Tips and alcohol are not reimbursable.
Receipts are not required. Alcohol is not reimbursable. How will the city know if they do not have receipts?
The contract has mistakes in it.
Personal Automobile Mileage: Up to the rate of .575cents per mile or the current State of Texas rate applicable at the time cost is incurred. Expense report must clearly identify the departure/arrival time, To/From destinations and purpose of trip.
Even tightwads are willing to pay more than half a cent per mile.
State law does not allow bidding services of this type. Instead the city must use a different evaluation process commonly called a “beauty contest”. The winner of the contract is the one that city staff likes the most.
We live in the Chihuahuan Desert. Look at this graphic from DesertUSA.com:
Is there no firm in El Paso that could do this work?
I suppose we should be happy that the city did not have to go to Germany for help like they did with what used to be our plaza.
Then again why do we need a zoo exhibit to show us what we live in every day? Wouldn’t we want our kids to have an opportunity to see something different?
We deserve better