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County to pick up the pieces after heated dock fiasco

Staff writer

Although commissioners have held no public discussion of whether to sue a Kechi dock builder paid $101,950 to begin a $203,900 job he still has not completed, they did decide Monday to hire someone to pick up the deck pieces Ben Baxter has finished.

The county gave a down payment to the owner of Ben’s Boat Docks in January 2020. The dock, which Baxter said would probably be finished by July 2020, is still nowhere near being complete.

Baxter first said he couldn’t get parts because companies that make flotation devices weren’t producing them because of COVID-19 restrictions. Flotation manufacturers contacted by the newspaper said their plants were not shut down at that time.

Now, lake superintendent Isaac Hett said, Baxter still mentions COVID and health problems.

County engineer Brice Goebel and Hett went to see the existing dock pieces. Their original plan was to have the road and bridge department bring the pieces back.

However, bringing back the six pieces would mean having a special permit to transport a wide load and Goebel didn’t think county vehicles could handle the load, Hett said.

“I would rather recommend some sort of a crane down there to pick it up,” Hett told commissioners.

He said he wants to have the potential moving contractor look before they decide to move it.

“I think it would be beneficial to whoever’s going to do it to be able to look at it and say, yeah, we can do this,” he said.

Another matter still to be decided is whether to use the 2019 bids to select someone else to build the dock or to take new bids.

“If we had the original bidders re-bid it, they know what they’re dealing with,” commissioner Kent Becker said.

Meanwhile, the old dock, ruined in a July 4, 2019, storm, still stands at water’s edge.

Commissioners approved up to $3,000 for Hett to collect the deck pieces from Baxter.

According to Hett, Baxter said he wants the pieces picked up when the ground is dry so as not to cause damage to his property.

“He said as long as it’s dry, you just give me a little heads up,” Hett said. “I’m going to start making calls and I hope we can get something done.”

Hett said also the lake is planning a crappie fishing tournament Sept. 18.

During the tournament the lake will be closed to the public for general boating from 5 a.m. to 3 p.m. so only tournament competitors will be on the lake.

Last modified March 25, 2021

 

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