By ROBERT PIERCE
• Daily Leader
The Seward County Five State Fair is scheduled to start in late July and early August, and before the fair takes place, county officials are trying to ready the fairground facilities for the event.
Plans progressed for two of those projects Monday, with county commissioners approving a bid for concrete work around the Ag Building and later approving an invitation to bid electrical work at the fairgrounds.
The concrete bid came two weeks after the board approved a motion which included installing two storm sewer manholes on the new storm sewer system 90 feet on the west of Western Avenue at Fairground Lane and Eighth Street. That installation would be done by King Enterprises with costs not to exceed $40,000 to come from the county’s reserve for claims fund.
Monday, Seward County Road and Bridge Supervisor Tony Herrman presented commissioners with a bid for concrete work around the Ag Building. He said the work would tie in to plans for a long range drainage plan to control water levels around the building.
The county received three bids on the project – one each from Thomas Landscaping, Lezama Concrete and Abbott Construction – with Abbott being the low bid at $12,940.
“It was a base bid,” Herrman said. “I also asked them to include an alternate. If you wish to consider tying in what is out there across the culvert in the ditch and later figure out you don’t want to proceed with that thought simply because the canal or drainage band we’re thinking of doing around that whole facility, that part would have to be put in at this time in a swell.”
Herrman said this could cause a retention of water until the remainder of the project is done. He recommended the county not do this.
“You may want to hold off until such time that you want to go ahead and do the rest of the drainage or at least part of the drainage basin around the Ag Building,” he said. “At which time, that piece could tie the two drives together. After reviewing the bids, I recommend that you look at the Abbott Construction bid for the base bid price of $12,940.”
The commission voted unanimously to accept the bid of Abbott Construction for concrete work around the Ag Building for the base bid of $12,940 with funds to come from the county building fund.
The board next looked at getting bids on electrical work at the fairgrounds. Administrator Mary Bloomer said starting in November 2009, the county had been working with the state of Kansas on a recovery zone bond from the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act. She said the county had been given an extension, and several discussions had taken place regarding allocations for the county and different pots of money for the project.
Bloomer said some of those discussions indicated all the county would have to do is present its project.
“The discussions all centered around grant-like funding,” she said. “After getting the proposals from our underwriters, it was very evident we were not talking apples to apples.”
After talking to underwriters, Bloomer said she was advised the county’s allocation was not grant-like funds.
“It was interest only subsidies, and the project would be paid with a lesser expensive rate of funding, but the funds would have to come from the county, and we would have to apply for the interest rebated money back to the county,” she said.
Bloomer said talks with underwriters confirmed this, but she said this is not how her conversations went with state officials.
“I confirmed that again with the second underwriter,” she said. “I, again, confirmed that with the folks from the state Monday, and he thought that was a rather comical conversation.”
Bloomer said in that conversation, the state official said he had the same talk with legislators.
“The allocation, although was an infusion of money, and the stimulus money is money counties pay out up front, and then there is not money to help stimulate our economy in that fashion,” she said.
Bloomer recommended the county waive the allocation of funds from the state, as they were not a grant to the county.
“We waive any allocation that the state would have for us,” she said. “It’s also my recommendation that we reject the bids from the underwriters.”
Bloomer provided commissioners copies of a revised invitation to bid.
“We still want to go forward with that project out at the fairgrounds and bid it as a traditional county project,” she said. “Legal counsel and I have worked on an invitation to bid for your review.”
The amended invitation to bid noted the project is not funded by ARRA stimulus funds, and Phase 1 of the work must be completed by July 30.
The commission approved the following motions:
o To authorize and direct the chairman to sign the notice of waiver of allocation of recovery zone bond allocation;
o To reject all bids from the underwriters for the ARRA project; and
o To amend the invitation to bid for the contractors for the electrical project at the fairgrounds. That invitation removes the state requirements of Davis-Bacon wages, special signage requirements for the vendors and the completion date of Aug. 1.
Bids on the project will be received until 2 p.m. Tuesday in the Seward County Clerk’s office. Bids will be presented to the commission at the regularly scheduled meeting at 6:30 p.m. June 7.