By: Diane Benjamin
It looks like the Decatur newspaper actually investigates government, unlike the Pantagraph. Both are owned by Lee Enterprises. (Stock price $2.75 a share)
It’s a long read, but it NEVER mentions Decatur’s former City Manager (and now Bloomington’s) Tim Gleason. Everything is blamed on the City Council.
City Managers are hired to run the City. Therefore is something goes south, the City Manager is to blame. This project went south long before the Bloomington Council decided to hire Gleason. I’m betting they didn’t know anything about it.
See the story here: https://herald-review.com/news/local/govt-and-politics/a-million-oversight-documents-show-dispute-over-lake-decatur-sediment/article_d4f7272d-03e1-5871-98af-bd8cb3ad9e66.html#comments
City leaders are in talks over whether taxpayers will pay for a multimillion-dollar mistake in the $91 million Lake Decatur dredging project, documents obtained by the Herald & Review show.
Here’s the short version:
Decatur gets their water from Lake Decatur. After the drought of 2012, they decided to dredge the Lake. To pay for it, water bills were DOUBLED over three years.
But documents show that the city’s engineering firm, Chastain and Associates, was warned as far back as 2013 that the plans might not include enough storage for the sediment. Yet no one measured how much space the material was taking up until the problem was detected in August 2017, according to the documents.
The city in April approved a $2.7 million change order for Great Lakes to address the issue. The company also said in February that it had racked up another $2.2 million from lost work time and other expenses, according to the files.
In August 2017, Great Lakes told city officials and Chastain engineers that 8 million cubic yards of material had been removed from the bottom of the lake. Crews had 2.7 million cubic yards left to dredge.
Around the same time, the company conducted the first survey of Oakley sediment basin’s capacity and found that there was room for less than 1 million cubic yards of material.
So who is at fault?
To assess the matter, city officials ordered a third-party engineering firm to review what went wrong. Quincy-based Klingner Associates found no one involved in the project had collected data on how much material was going into the Oakley Basin, the make-up of the sediment being pumped out by dredgers or how much water has successfully trickled back into the lake, an important component of the project.
What this story proves is government isn’t capable of big things.
It’s why Bloomington’s taxpayers own a fire station that has never been used, a water tower that isn’t usable, and arena that can’t come close to breaking even, former arena managers under prosecution concerning their management, and on and on.
Tim Gleason was only chosen as City Manager to redevelop downtown. He spent many millions on downtown Decatur with little to show for it. He will do the same thing here if this Council continues to only care about downtown.
The Decatur City Council did what they were told, thinking isn’t required when buddies are elected to serve. The City Manager was responsible for the project, I’d love to know why he wasn’t blamed.
Think those doubled water rates will ever decrease once the Lake project is done and paid for?
Not a chance.
Expect the same in Bloomington’s future.