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County split over re-bid contract

Staff writer

County commissioners debated Monday whether to award a contract to demolish the Florence school to the lowest bidder or to a local business whose bid came in close but higher. In the end, they awarded the contract to Belle Plaine-based H Excavating.

H Excavating had bid the project at $79,500, with an additional $2,500 to replace existing sewer line beneath the building if the demolition work destroys it.

Middle Creek Mining, based in Peabody, bid the demolition at $84,000, with an additional $9,600 if the sewer line ended up having to be replaced.

It was the second round of bids for the project. When original bids were opened on May 30, some did not include a bid bond while others did, so commissioners rejected all bids May 31.

H Excavating did not bid in the first round. Middle Creek Mining was the low bidder in the first round, but did not include a bid bond.

Commission chairman Randy Dallke argued for awarding the contract to Middle Creek, but commissioner Dianne Novak contended the county should save money.

The vote to accept H Excavating’s bid was split, with Novak and commissioner Kent Becker in favor and Dallke opposed.

New radios for firefighters

Commissioners also approved a plan developed by county fire chiefs to use the next two years’ rescue funds to help offset the cost of 800 mHz trunked radios, needed because the county is upgrading its emergency radio system.

Lincolnville fire chief Lester Kaiser said some, but not all, of the county’s departments had been able to get grants to defray cost of the radios.

Economic development

Russell Groves told commissioners that he now was chairman of the county economic development corporation after last week’s resignation of Chris Hernandez.

“As of right now, our permanent board positions are all filled,” Groves said.

Groves said the corporation’s board of directors was continuing its search for a director who knows economic development.

“My intention is to have a highly qualified person hired by October so we can hit the ground running,” Groves said.

Dallke asked whether the county and each participating city would have two seats on the corporation board.

“You will have the opportunity to nominate two people to the board,” Groves said.

One of the corporation’s goals is to bring technical training and employers in need of skilled workers to the county.

Becker said emergency services director Ed Debesis was trying to bring emergency medical technician and paramedic training back to the county and asked whether the committee could work with him.

“We’re still behind you,” Dallke said. “We’ll stay behind you as long as we possibly can.”

Last modified June 21, 2017

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