It needed five votes to pass and each no vote had their own reason for opposing the half-million dollar contract to the Mobile Group Incorporated. Bess Rich said she didn't want to keep paying the same company more money.
"Which, in my mind, has failed the community with its extreme costs of more than five million dollars," says Rich. Reggie Copeland wants storm water managed in-house rather than contracted out.
"Montgomery does it, Birmingham does it, we're the only city that farms it out," says Copeland. John Williams was poised to be the swing vote if there was an amendment forcing the contractor to provide the city with quarterly reports.
"Because it's a non-bidded contract that it requires an additional level of scrutiny by this body," says Williams. Even if it was passed, in the short term this won't fix a litter trap with a shoddy track record or immediately stop waves of garbage washing into dog river after it rains.
"ADEM has said if you pretend that you don't have any obligations if you don't fund your program, don't do anything then we're going to take immediate action," says Mobile City Attorney Flo Kessler. That immediate action could come in the form of more fines--ranging from $25,000 to $250,000 per offense.
"I think it puts the city in jeopardy it really puts the city in a position where ADEM now has to take some action," says Mobile Mayor Sam Jones.