Marshall County's Board of Public Utilities on Tuesday authorized its superintendent to award a contract for the enclosure of a carport and construction of an addition to the utility's shop on Rock Crusher Road. Johnson Builders submitted the lowest of six bids received by the water system, Superintendent Tommy Whaley said shortly after the MCBPU's monthly meeting on Tuesday. Bob Ramsey, the utility's consulting engineer, said the Doyle, Tenn. contractor was the lowest of six bidders.
Johnson's $248,000 bid is more than the $237,000 budgeted for the project, so the Board authorized Whaley to award the contract to Johnson as long as he and the contractor can agree on project modifications to keep it at, or less than, the budgeted amount, the superintendent said, confirming action by the Board during its monthly meeting.
Site grade work and other construction may be conducted by utility employees to keep the project affordable, Whaley said.
"We've got the authority to award it if we can keep it within the budget," he said.
County Commissioner Mickey King moved to accept Johnson's bid and "move forward" on the project. Commissioner Mary Ann Neill, also a member of the utility board, seconded King's motion. The vote was unanimous as Board member Mike Waggoner chaired the meting in the absence of Commissioner Rocky Bowden.
"We're not going one dime over what's been appropriated in the 2008-09 budget," Neill emphasized before the vote.
An addition to the building and an enclosure of what might be called a carport are planned at the Rock Crusher Road structure, according to discussion Tuesday morning.
The building and 5.04 acres were purchased for $350,000 on Aug. 28, 2008, by the county for the Board of Public Utilities, a wholly-owned agency of the county government. The sellers are listed in the deed as Kenneth W. Jordan and his wife, Melanie H. Jordan.
After the property was acquired, questions arose about the price and availability of other properties. Amid those questions was a memo between other county departments since property was seen as being sought for another purpose.
Thereafter, County Mayor Joe Boyd Liggett, who's not a member of the water board, was asked about the utility's land purchase and its price.
"The project was started before this huge downfall" in the nation's economy that has severely affected real estate prices, Liggett replied. "Things have gotten bad. There are a lot of people who have gambled on stocks and lost. It's things we have no control of... on the overall economy."
At that time, the county mayor discounted speculation that the Solid Waste Committee or its related department were looking for land for a solid waste transfer station. Since then, the county has hired a consultant to develop a solid waste disposal plan to prepare the county for a time when Cedar Ridge Landfill might close.
Estimates on comparable land costs for such other reasons are separate and apart from the business conducted by the utility board on Tuesday when other matters were discussed.
They included: continued concerns about a water tank at a business in the county; water pressure for fire suppression; continuing efforts to complete an extensive water pipeline extension, and; the availability of Community Development Block Grant funds through the state from the federal government's.
The utility board traditionally meets on the third Tuesday morning of each month.