Maintenance contract bids being examined

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Marshall County commissioners are examining prices on a contract for maintenance of public buildings now that competitive bids have been obtained for the work.

Lewisburg Plumbing and Heating bid $150,500 per year for five years and Carrier Corp., the business that's been providing the service for several years, bid $167,072, according to announcements during the commission's Building Committee meeting on Thursday.

Complicating the analysis of the bids are work hours and Carrier's offer of air conditioning and heating units, one of which has been made available, and a discount Carrier offered in its first contract.

Bids were called for the service as a result of information obtained from an auditor with the State Comptroller of the Treasury who said the commission erred last year when it awarded the contract to Carrier without competitive bidding.

The Building Committee is scheduled to meet again at 4:30 p.m. Thursday to resume deliberations on the maintenance contract that has attracted attention, in part because there had been discussion between commissioners and leaders of the county school system about having the schools' maintenance crew provide that service to other county-owned buildings.

Other aspects of the controversy include the commissioners' view of the headquarters of the Marshall County Board of Public Utilities. The building on West Commerce Street was bought by the utility, which as a utility, by state law, must be self-sufficient. Carrier has been maintaining the MCBPU building and provided a heating and cooling unit for the structure that was originally built for a bank.

Attending the Building Committee meeting last week were Patrick Jordan of Lewisburg Plumbing and Heating, David Fagan of Carrier's regional office, and Christian Brake, the Carrier employee who oversees maintenance of county buildings.