This has been a difficult and contentious year in Davis with multiple budget and water issues. Unfortunately, there are now even more problems with the latter.
I had been told that the second bidder was never really interested in the water project, but was only trying to keep the project alive. However, now we learn that the only bidder, CH2M Hill, has been involved in serious illegal activity and has paid an $18 million fine.
I think the water project needs to be scrapped. This company is not to be trusted; it is like having a vampire guard the blood bank.
This problem is not minor. Only one bidder is not a good idea especially if that one bidder is involved in serious illegal behavior. A comment was made that the city could review the books more closely to assure no illegal activity. This again would cost more staff and money. Books can be easily “cooked.”
As a consumer, if I received only one bid and that bid was by someone who had participated in illegal activity, I would be advised not to use that person and regroup. The bonds will most likely be more expensive because of only one bidder and the illegal actions of that bidder.
The city is facing many budgetary problems aside from the project itself. The court challenge to the water project could result in fines as well as repayments to water users for the unpaid water used by the city over the years. Also, further legal challenges and initiatives concerning the violations of the Proposition 218 rate structure are a possibility.
Sometimes, the better part of valor is to admit a problem and start over with a new plan that is affordable and has better community support. According to the wording of Measure I, the City Council is able to stop this water plan if it is not in the city’s best interest. Please stop the current water project and reconsider a more rational and economically feasible plan.