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Water plant, ag building projects under way

Several major capital improvement projects — including work at the county’s waste water facility and the construction of a new agriculture building — are already well under way.
At Tuesday’s work session and regular meeting of the Decatur County Board of Commissioners, the board received updates about the status of several of these projects.
Agriculture building
County Administrator Tom Patton said the county has begun taking bids on electrical wiring, HVAC (heating, ventilation and air-conditioning) and other infrastructure work at the new agriculture building, which is being built off Vada Road near the fairgrounds.
County Board Chairman Dr. David C. “Butch” Mosely asked Patton if all companies would be subject to the same open bidding process. Mosely specifically questioned the bidding process for SIPS Team U.S.A., a Bainbridge company that produces structural insulated panels for residential and commercial buildings.
“They’re just like every other player; they will have to bid on that project just like the other suppliers,” Patton said.
“So there’s no pre-contract, or pre-agreement at all?” Mosely asked.
Patton again noted SIPS would have to bid against other companies.
Patton also stated that bids had gone out for a construction manager to oversee the project. Mosely suggested that a full-time manager would be best, but Patton and Finance Director Carl Rowland said the bid specifications for the job had suggested the employee would be paid by an hourly rate.
“I’m just concerned that we are spending a lot of money and it should be a nice, well-constructed and organized building,” Mosely said. “If we’re going to do it, we need to do it right.”
Patton noted that there are times when the construction manager would have to be on site, but other times would only need to check on the work as needed.
“When the walls and the roofs are going up, they should be there every day,” he said. “But there may be times when they’re just running plumbing through the walls or putting up drywall where we won’t really need him there full-time.”
Patton said the building is tentatively on target to meet its Feb. 1, 2012, deadline, but the U.S. Dept. of Agriculture could grant an extension if it is needed.
Waste water treatment plant
Patton told the board Tuesday that the Environmental Protection Division had approved the county’s corrective action plan for the work to be done at the water and waste system at the Airport Industrial Park.
Later in the meeting, the board approved the purchase of valves and actuators for the equalization basin, at a cost of $20,000 from TEMSCO, Inc., of Suwanee, Ga. The bid price was significantly lower than the $42,592 bid price of Aqua-Aerobic Systems, Inc., of Rockford, Ill.
Carters Mill Road improvements
Patton said Tuesday that the county has received the funds from its previously-approved Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) to make necessary improvements to Carters Mill Road.
The funding breakdown is as follows: $20,000 for property acquisition, $24,441 for contingencies, $41,844 for engineering, $379,210 for street improvements, $29,828 for flood and drainage facilities and a $186,276 local match from the county.
County Public Works Superintendent Dennis Medley said the next step is to get all of the property owners to sign easements that would allow the improved road to be constructed.
Commissioner Dr. Earl Perry said it is likely work could begin in 12 months, if the property acquisition process goes smoothly.
“We’ve got to get the legal work done on these deeds,” he said. “It is a long process, but neighborhood help is always appreciated and it is a very positive thing in getting one of these matters accomplished.”
Other projects
• The county is planning to demolish the old Gilreath Building at the airport industrial park. Patton said that one of the industries in the park is interested in purchasing the old I-beams from the building, for use in a future expansion project. Patton said the county was negotiating a fair price for those I-beams, and would seek at least the minimum scrap-metal price.
• Rowland briefed the board on the progress of three cell towers intended for both Public Safety and wireless-internet (WIMAX) use. He said the tower on Hwy. 97 South has already been completed, and soil testing is in progress for the tower at the landfill. A tower that was slated for East River Road was rejected by the Federal Aviation Administration because it was in a flight approach. He said the county is seeking an alternate solution; each cell tower takes about six months to finish.