County to begin projects


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Officials expect that some major projects will start soon despite budget concerns.

At the Johnson County Board of Supervisors’ informal meeting Thursday, county engineer Greg Parker presented three projects the Secondary Roads Department officials intend to initiate in the near future. However, in the face of Mahaffey Bridge road construction and the rebuilding of the Secondary Roads’ facility, which was destroyed in a fire last year, the supervisors reminded Parker to be hyper-conscious of expenditures.

The three projects proposed consisted of a dust-control safety program, a seed and fertilizer program, and a resurfacing program.

The goal was to receive bids as close to the estimated cost as possible.

The supervisors were satisfied with the bid for the dust-control program. The county received a bid from Binns and Stevens, a company in Oskaloosa, for  $228,905.

However, problems arose when the bid received for the resurfacing program totaled $597,420, roughly $65,000 more than officials had anticipated.

Parker speculated the high bid may have to do with an increase in the cost of oil used for resurfacing. Supervisor Rod Sullivan asked if the high price may be because of what he called a monopoly on local resurfacing companies — L.L. Pelling is the only one in the area and the only company to offer a bid.

“I’m pleased it’s a local company, but I wonder if other companies just look and see Pelling is a local company, so they don’t even try to compete,” Sullivan said.

Parker said a bid received for the seed and fertilizer program was $18,000 lower than estimated, which would help mitigate the money used on the resurfacing bid. The bid was from United Seeds Inc. of Omaha and was roughly $10,000 lower than four bids received from local companies.

While the supervisors expressed some hesitation, Parker assured them the bid was legitimate.

“There are no issues,” he said. “I checked it out, and they just really sharpened their pencil on this. I can’t respond to why the numbers are where they’re at … maybe they got a big contract somewhere else and have really competitive prices.”

The supervisors agreed the lower cost would be beneficial for the county.

Supervisors Janelle Retting said she was concerned about an absence of knowledge on Secondary Roads resurfacing and dust-alleviation programs, because she has received emails from people complaining about a lack of work being done, and residents seemed unaware of the efforts being made by Parker’s division.

“I think it’s one of those ongoing issues that we need to keep pushing in the media, so people are aware of these programs and deadlines,” Rettig said.

Parker agreed and said he would be issuing a press release soon.

Despite mixed feelings on the bids received, the supervisors agreed approval would be likely and will put it up to an official vote March 13.

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