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Bids for county facility are 72% over budget

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By Tracy Harris

Plans for new road and recycling buildings went off the road when officials opened project bids at the Feb. 7 fiscal court meeting.

“We’re all in shock over the prices that came in,” said Magistrate Brent Likins, chair of the building construction and maintenance committee last week.

Bids for the project arrived at a stunning 72 percent over budget — the lowest bid is about $5 million. Estimates by Godsey Associates Architects put the project at about $2.9 million.

The county contracted with Godsey Associates to design the new facilities last year. 

Judge-Executive David Voegele said in September he hoped the project could be trimmed closer to $2 million.

After receiving the bids, committee members and other county officials met with Godsey Associates representatives Feb. 16 to discuss options for the project.

The Kentucky Transportation Cabinet purchased the land where the current road and recycling buildings are located last year as part of a widening and realignment project for Ky. 393.

KYTC spent $1.4 million on the land — money that will help fund the new facilities that will be constructed on Ky. 146 near King’s Lane.

In the plans developed by Godsey Associates, three main buildings will be constructed: the recycling center, road department and road department equipment storage. 

A brining bin and salt storage will also be constructed. 

The buildings total about 61,000 square feet.

Mitchell Sanders, Godsey Associates vice president, said he was “equally surprised” by how much the bids went over the estimated cost.

Even considering the five proposed alternates, no bid would be under $5 million.

Sanders said it would take “major surgery” to bring the project cost down — like cutting off an arm and a leg.

Building sizes could be reduced, gravel could be substituted for concrete paving and other adjustments made, he said, but it will be difficult.

“It’s a balance between what you want and what you want to give up,” he said.

Magistrate Wayne Theiss, a member of the building construction and maintenance committee, said he believes if the project can’t be completed for $2 million, it needs to be reevaluated.

“If we spend more than that, the
citizens of Oldham County will dismember me an arm and a leg,” he said.

But Likins, a contractor himself, said he doesn’t believe there is much “fluff and frill” to cut in the bids. 

Sanders pointed out some expenses are inevitable — all the bids estimated site costs at $1 million, nearly half what the county hoped to spend on the entire project.

Another $100,000 is needed for a chain link fence around three sides to meet requirements for jail inmates to work at the recycling center.

Brian Campbell, road department director, said his staff could help with some construction items to save costs. His crew constructed the current salt storage area and could make another, he said.

Officials agreed seeing a breakdown of expenses would help them understand the bids. Such a breakdown wasn’t available Thursday, just the lump sum bids and costs for five alternate options.

Sanders said he would request the breakdowns. 

The committee will evaluate them tomorrow (Friday) at 9 a.m. 

“We’ve got to get to the Chevrolet from the Cadillac, then figure out if we can afford the Chevrolet,” Theiss said.

Since all the bids are over-budget, fiscal court can choose to negotiate with the three lowest bidders or cancel the bid entirely. The project could then be redesigned and rebid.

The county is expected to vacate the current facilities by the end of the year, Voegele said.