County rejects building bids
By RANDY GONZALES
The Ellis County Commission unanimously rejected bids for two projects in a special meeting Thursday afternoon at the Ellis County Courthouse.
Public bid openings were conducted for both projects earlier this week.
The bids for the remodeling project at 718 Main, site of the future administrative building for the county, came in sharply higher the $600,000 budgeted. One bid was $944,000, and the other bid was $995,000.
The six bids for construction of a new EMS/rural fire building also came in above the $3.5 million to $3.6 million budgeted. The low bid was $3.95 million.
In addition to the base bids, there were enhancements bid on -- six for the project at 718 Main and seven for the EMS/rural fire building.
"My recommendation -- the bids apparently are higher than what you estimated," County Counselor Bill Jeter said.
"In order to reach an acceptable level, if it requires a material change in the plans and specifications, then you need to reject all the bids, re-do the plans and specifications, probably in consultation with the architect, then re-submit."
On Thursday, Jeter said the difference between the amount budgeted and the EMS/rural fire building's low bid was too much of a difference to accept it.
"I think it's too substantial, from what we discussed (Wednesday)," Jeter said.
"I think we need to work to get these back within the budget," Sund said. "I don't know how we come up with the extra money if we don't have it."
The funding for the EMS/rural fire building will come through a 0.5-percent county sales tax passed by voters in May. Funding for renovations at 718 Main will be through the county's budget.
Additional funding for the 718 Main project could be available through the Ellis County Treasury.
"As far as the 718 project, we do have some state funds that were put into a reserve fund," Ellis County Treasurer Ann Pfeifer told commissioners.
Pfeifer said the Motor Vehicle Operating Fund-Reserve Account had approximately $230,000 in it that could be used for the motor vehicle area only in the remodeled building.
"I'm a little surprised the original estimate we had, (for 718 Main, the bids were) $400,000 over," Ellis County Commissioner Dean Haselhorst said. "Why is it that far off from the original estimate?"
Sund said the county now will get together with the architect, Spangenberg Phillips Tice Architecture.