By Rich Fischer
During a special meeting held last Wednesday, members of the Izard County Quorum Court were present for the opening and review of bids which had been submitted for various portions of the planned jail expansion project.
Robert Barrett, president of Smith-Doyle Contractors, the firm previously engaged by the County to perform the actual construction phase of the project, was on hand to open the bids sent out by his firm as well a to provide an update to the Court on overall project status.
The project had been broken down into a number of “packages”, each associated with a different piece of the actual construction work, such as earthwork, roofing, painting, etc.
Of the two (2) bids received, the first opened was for Bid Package 9 – Aluminum Canopy, from Mid South Metals in the amount of $42,975, for construction of a metal canopy over the vehicle south port in the jail building.
The next bid was submitted by Dito Coatings, Inc in the amount of $39,250, this for Bid Package 13 – Painting which involves all the painting needed for the project. An alternate option was discussed whereby the County would purchase the paint with labor from ADC inmate work crews providing the labor.
The other bid packages for Fencing, Caulking & Sealing, and Fire Protection received no bids from contractors whatsoever.
Barrett went on to express his disappointment at the tepid response to this second request for bids, indicating an intention to proceed with yet a third bid request which is required by law before one-on-one negotiations with select contractors may proceed.
Following the opening of the two bid responses Judge Smith called the special meeting formally to order with all JPs except Hank Sherrell in attendance, setting the stage for discussion on next steps and actions that could be taken at this time given the bidding situation just related.
The total projected cost for the project amounts to $2,625,000, with is approximately $260,000 over budget, not including the $110,000 contingency built in to the budget to cover unexpected costs. Taking that out of the equation, the project would be $150,000 over budget.
One may see the detail of both Direct Construction Cost (DCC) and Total Capital Cost may be seen in the below graphic.
It was recommended that the contingency fund remain intact to prevent the contractor from having to come back and ask for more money for unexpected costs.
Discussion ensued regarding how best to fund the project in totality with all in agreement that thelion’s share would come from the County ARPA (American Relief Program Act) in the amount of approximately $2.2 million. Per County Treasurer Warren Sanders, total money remaining in the ARPA fund is $2,750.000 with $5000 dedicated to another project.
Sheriff Charley Melton advised that the Jail Fund, which has been accumulating revenues garnered from the county ½ cent law enforcement tax has grown over the past few years to approximately $623,000. He proceeded to offer to cover the shortfall from that fund in the amount necessary.
When asked how much he would like to see retained in the Jail Fund should some be redirected to the jail project, Sheriff Melton replied that he’d like to retain approximately $200,000 in this fund to be comfortable, leaving $435,000 available for redirection.
The plan to combine monies from the ARPA Fund with some taken from the Jail Fund to totally fund the jail expansion was felt to be how best to proceed from a financing perspective.
In the meantime, a third round of bid requests will be sent out with the hope of attracting more contractors to submit bids.
The meeting concluded with a plan to have the funding strategy presented for JP consideration during the upcoming Quorum Court meeting, in either resolution or appropriation ordinance form. Final figures would be included in whatever vehicle was chosen to define exactly how much money would come from each fund.