|County preps for
Loudon County now has a contractor in place to begin construction on the jail expansion.
Commissioners through a special, called meeting Monday after a workshop voted unanimously in favor of Rouse Construction.
Henry Cullen and Van Shaver motioned and seconded to go with the contractor but to take deductive alternates for kitchen equipment at $330,100, laundry equipment at $48,300 and gravel parking at $12,490, effectively bringing Rouse Construction’s cost down to $15,869,110. The initial proposal was $16,260,000.
Had commission gone with all the deductive alternates, the cost would have been $15,829,635.
“Let me tell you, it’s taxpayer dollars. Any time you can save money, hurray,” Cullen said. “Susan (Huskey, county purchasing director) studied the issue. We bought it before. It’s going to be a matter of buying the equipment, still going to have to pay for it and they’ll come in and install it, and I think there’s a tax issue involved, sales tax. So yes, and the laundry equipment the same way, kitchen, and as far as gravel in that parking lot, Eddie’s got dump trucks, tractors. We’re paying it anyway, why not use it?”
Michael Brady Inc., representative Jay Henderlight estimated taking three of the six deductive alternates could save the county roughly 20 percent. Other alternates included landscaping, interior signage and final cleaning.
“This is a big deal, I mean this is huge,” Shaver said. “The last time we did something up there was in 2004 — I believe they called it the 2004 addition — and it was $4 million or something like that. We’re fixing to triple almost the capacity of the bed space, a little less than triple. I mean $15 million is nothing to sneeze at but we’re doing it without having to impact anybody tax-wise. That’s a pretty big accomplishment.”
Commission in March 2017 agreed to pay up to $15 million for a jail addition.
Bids were opened March 8 from five contractors, including Bell Construction, Blaine Construction, BurWil Construction, Merit Construction and Rouse Construction, with totals from $16.2 million to $18.6 million.
“The jail is done,” Cullen said. “When I did my review of the five construction companies that were going to bid, I had Rouse, I had Merit and I had BurWil. BurWil was one of the higher ones. So to me when Merit came in $16.5 (million) and Rouse came in at ($16.2 million), both of them were absolutely capable of doing the job. I am pleased how this thing finally came out.”
Commission’s approval now will require Henderlight to draft a contract for both parties to sign. Breaking ground could be as early as May 1.
“I didn’t know if it’d ever get to this point. I’m just tickled to death,” Bill Satterfield, county commissioner, said. “Of course, we were hoping it would come in a little bit under bid, but we can live with what we’ve got. I think it’s great. I think anybody who’s been through the current jail you can see that we need it and, like I said, being able to do it without raising taxes, again, that’s a win-win for everybody there. Tracy (Blair, county budget director) did a good job with the numbers and Lord knows it was talked about enough. ... I’m excited. I think it’s really going to be something the county would be proud of.”
Commissioners during the workshop briefly discussed a solution that could allow Road Superintendent Eddie Simpson to pave Amberly Court but also continue paying the full amount owed for a tractor with two mowing implements he purchased a couple of years ago.
Plans are at the April commission meeting to vote on pushing back payments for another year.
“I think it worked out well for everybody, both sides as far as that goes,” Satterfield said. “I mean this is all coming out of the road superintendent’s budget. We just delayed his tractor payment a year so that he could go ahead and do the Amberly Meadows and, as compared to the others, Amberly is our county road. According to Mr. Simpson, and I have no reason to doubt him, the streets up there were deteriorating pretty bad and it’s do it now at this price or do it later at a more expensive price. It was a good solution, I think.”
Commission in October 2016 approved up to $120,000 for the tractor and mowing equipment. Simpson paid $40,000 last year and was scheduled to pay another $40,000 this year and the remainder thereafter. The tractor cost $94,081.
Cullen believes the move is a good compromise.
“It’s a compromise on Eddie’s part and our part to delay the payment,” Cullen said. “There’s no new money, all we did was let him keep his 40 grand. It’s up to him what he does with it.”
A timetable on when the road could be paved if approved by commission is unknown, Simpson said.
“It’s hard to say what day we’ll do it because it’s not been scheduled yet,” Simpson said. “If they’re at the junction working and they can go do it, then we’ll get it done while they’re there. It’ll be within the next weeks anyway.”