City Overbilled for Power-Washing

Updated: May 22, 2018

The contractor hired by the city of San Diego to power-wash sidewalks following a Hepatitis A outbreak has overbilled San Diego County for a separate contract 20 out of 20 times, records show.

Clean Harbors Environmental Services submitted 20 invoices in recent months, and each contained charges that were not covered by the contract. According to the documents obtained by the San Diego Union-Tribune, the company sought almost $985,000 from the county for work clearing away homeless encampments.

County officials went through invoices and declined to pay almost $240,000, a rejection rate of almost 25 cents on the dollar.

The overcharges ranged from a low of $115 to a high of $55,779. The cleanup contract was signed in October and originally was capped at $250,000. The contract has been amended twice, and now is valued at $1.6 million.

The overcharges raise questions about whether the city, in a separate contract, paid Clean Harbors too much to power-wash sidewalks during the same period.

City spokeswoman Katie Keach said, “The city reviews all invoices thoroughly for accuracy and proactively addresses any issues. … We are not aware of any billing issues at this time.”

As reported in last week’s CalTaxletter and the San Diego Union-Tribune, city officials spent thousands of dollars on gloves and other equipment while other local companies said they could have done the work cheaper, and would not have not billed the city for per diem payments, gloves and the cost of moving workers and equipment from other cities on a daily basis.

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