San Diego city officials recently approved a no-bid contract worth up to $1.3 million to pressure-wash downtown sidewalks in response to a Hepatitis A outbreak stemming from an exploding homeless population, and chose an out-of-town business rather than one that operates and pays taxes in San Diego.
The city awarded the contract to a Massachusetts-based Clean Harbors, one of the nation’s largest environmental cleanup companies, to clean sidewalks soiled by debris and human waste. According to documents obtained by the San Diego Union-Tribune, the city paid thousands of dollars in overtime to shuttle work crews to and from Los Angeles on most days. The city also made $179 per diem payments to each worker.
The agreement, which was approved for one year, also included daily fees for equipment like utility trucks, passenger vans and pressure washers. The city additionally paid hourly charges every day for the workers to set up and break down the equipment.
The city’s blanket purchase order said Clean Harbors was expected to dispatch six-member cleaning teams for 130 days at $81 an hour per worker, for a total of $505,000. Additionally, the order provides for 2,340 hours of set-up and demobilizing time at $42.5 per hour, and 4,680 overtime hours, costing the city an additional $400,000. At $329 per day, the pressure-washer budget alone was almost $43,000. The pickup truck and passenger van cost the city another $18,460, plus $20,000 for gloves and boots.