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Cape-Coral-Daily-Breeze.com - Cape Coral, FL
May 17, 2010

Contract with Kessler to complete audit could be approved next week
Proposed price tag 'not to exceed' $60,000

By Drew Winchester

Cape Coral City Council will likely approve the contract with Michael Kessler next Monday, giving his firm the go-ahead to continue the UEP forensic audit.

Council previously approved the price tag of a "not to exceed" amount of $60,000 to complete the audit.

The contract reflects that amount, and also contains a clause that puts any overages in front of council for approval before Kessler can bill the city for additional services.

The question of whether or not Kessler will be able to obtain documents from MWH - the city's contractor on the UEP - to complete the audit remains to be seen.

Council recently questioned whether it could use its subpoena powers to obtain those documents from MWH, though City Attorney Dolores Menendez warned that "all roads lead to court," and that the subpoena powers did not likely extend to private companies.

Mayor John Sullivan said previously that completing the audit will put a controversial matter to rest, either by proving that MWH did not overcharge the city, or that the city is owed money.

Monday night, Sullivan said he didn't know if the audit was going to cost more than the $60,000 already pledged, especially if they hoped to recover the documents Kessler is seeking.

"That's probably going to cost some time and were going to have to pay some time, the question is how much," Sullivan said.

Councilmember Bill Deile said he'd prefer to see the contract contingent on Kessler receiving the documents.

If the documents proved unattainable, Deile didn't see the point in paying Kessler $60,000.

"I'd like to see the contract contingent upon getting the documents," Deile said. "If he can't get the documents, he shouldn't get the $60 grand."

In other news, city staff said during a budget presentation / overview that it is expecting a 10 percent decrease in taxable property value and revenue sources to remain flat during the 2010-2011 fiscal year, reducing the city's income by more than $8 million.

The presentation by budget administrator Sheena Milken also anticipates no change in the millage rate.

With Property Appraiser Ken Wilkinson set to release preliminary property values on June 1, council wants to set its target budget by June 14, the last meeting before it takes its summer hiatus.

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