By MIKE MCCOY
Statesman Staff Writer
BLOOMFIELD, Mo. -- The Stoddard County Commission awarded a contract for construction of a new electrical station and generator at the County Jail to Sides Construction of Cape Girardeau, Mo., at a cost of $168,343. The commission met Monday and awarded the bid to Sides Construction after opening five bids on the project. Sides Construction was the lowest of the five bids.
Architect Dale Rogers, with Robert Stearnes and Associates, opened the sealed bids with several representatives of the bidding companies present. Rogers prepared the specifications for the project, which includes a new electrical station and generator to be located on Seneca Street. The project will provide electrical and backup generator service to the jail as well as necessary electrical equipment for future jail expansion.
The four other bids on the project were:
* Hart Electric, Inc. of Matthews, Mo., $188,870;
* Brown Construction of Dexter, $239,,000;
* R.L. Persons Construction of Poplar Bluff, $197,200;
* Southeast Services, $191,800.
The work includes both electrical and general construction work. Two of the bidders were electrical contractors, while the other three were general contractors. All three general contractors, including Sides, listed McCall Electric as the sub-contractor on the project. Rogers said the contractors took bids on the sub-contract, and McCall was the lowest bidder.
Commissioner Frank Sifford had previously voiced concerns about the electrical contractor after problems arose at the Justice Center.
Presiding Commission-er Greg Mathis said he heard from a contractor that McCall was "one of the finest in the area" as an electrical contractor. A representative with Sides Construction said McCall was doing the work at the FEMA Safe Room on the Bloomfield School campus. Sides is the contractor for that project. He said everything was going smoothly.
Mathis said the commission would give Rogers time to look over the bids and make sure everything was in order before taking action on the bids. Rogers told the commission that he had looked it over and everything was in order.
Sifford made the motion to award the contract to Sides, and Jarrell seconded the motion. It passed by a 3-0 vote.
In other business, the commission voted to use BRO funds to replace a bridge on County Road 784 in LaValle Special Road District. Engineers from Smith and Company Engineers in Poplar Bluff were present to discuss ratings of bridges in the county. They presented a map to each commissioner showing bridges that were most in need of replacement.
Sifford asked how the bridge on County Road 785 was rated. Engineer Jeremy Manning said the bridge had a 33.8 percent efficiency rating with a load limit of eight tons. He said it was not the worst in terms of rating in the county. The bridge is located in the extreme southeast corner of the county. Manning said a bridge on County Road 754 was closed due to its condition. He cited several others that were rated low in terms of efficiency.
Funds for the project will come from the
Off-System Bridge Re-placement and Rehabili-tation Program (BRO) funds. Manning said the county has around $1.5 million on BRO funds. The recent replacement of a bridge on County Road 420 has not been taken from these funds, so that will reduce the total amount. In order for a bridge to qualify for BRO funding, the bridge must be rated at 50 percent or less in efficiency.
Sifford said the bridge on County Road 410 (Castor Township) has to be replaced. It was destroyed in the 2011 flood. He said the county had hoped for CDBG funds, but had not received them. He said it was looking unlikely that those funds would materialize.
Sifford asked Manning how much it would cost to replace the bridge on CR 784. Manning asked how long it was, and Jim Goforth with Lavelle Special said it was around 40 feet in length. Manning said there had to be 10 feet more added to each end, so it would be a 60-foot bridge. He estimated the cost at $200,000.
There was some discussion about the bridge over the St. Francis River on the Butler County line. Engineers recently did an inspection of that bridge, but a report has not been received by the commission.
"I want to clear up something now," said Mathis. "Does Butler County have the BRO money to do their part of the project?"
Engineer Steve Hicks said Butler County did not have BRO funds for the project at this time.
"Jim (Goforth) has been promised the new bridge for years," said Sifford. "I recommend we replace the bridge on County Road 784."
"I agree," responded Mathis.
"I wholeheartedly agree," replied Commis-sioner Carol Jarrell.
Sifford said the county would continue to use soft money for the bridge. BRO money requires an 80/20 percent split, with the township picking up 20 percent of the cost. The county has the option of trading other entities' "hard" money for "soft" money. The county will receive about half on the total amount of "hard" money in the swap, but townships often do not have the local match, so the county trades "hard" money for "soft" money. The "soft" money does not require a local match.
Odetta Holland and Steve Simmons of Advance addressed the commission about a "problem" they had with the Advance School District's tax assessment. Holland said she attended the tax rate hearing and there were no board members present. She did not say why she attended the tax hearing. She told the commission that she had contacted the state because she believed the tax hearing was "not legal" due to the board not being present. She said the state provided a statute showing that a board quorum was needed at the hearing for it to be legal. She said that in the absence of a legal hearing, the only tax the district could levee is for debt service.
"We don't want to take money away from the district," said Holland. "This is simply a protest."
The commission asked Prosecutor Russ Oliver
to attend. Oliver said statutes call for the county to levee the tax rate submitted by the school district.
"The county legally has to implement that tax, even if they (Advance School District) did not hold a tax hearing."
"You are wasting our time," stated Sifford. "It is not our jurisdiction."
Holland said they had come to speak to County Clerk Joe Watson and had not intended to bring it before the commission. She said the commission was meeting, so that's why they were before the commission.
Connie Koerner-Bean asked the commission to sign a paper in support of a grant application by Catholic Charities to address housing for the homeless in Stoddard County. Bean said the grant would help establish a program to assist the homeless, mostly in getting rental assistance. Paperwork simply said the "county could use such a program," said Bean. She went on to say that Catholic Charities had been primarily involved in working with those who suffered losses from the 2011 flood. She said this would be a new program.
"I have no problem signing it," stated Sifford. "I reserve the right to support another group if they want it as well."
Mathis concurred, saying he also did not want the commission to sign something that would make commission support exclusive to one group.
Jarrell also agreed and told Bean she appreciated the work Catholic Charities was doing in the county.