Contract for courthouse renovation terminated

Blount County Commission...

Following an executive session called to discuss pending litigation, the Blount County Commission resumed its business meeting and voted unanimously to terminate for cause the county’s contract with Richard Strauss Construction Company. The company was responsible for carrying out a major construction project affecting much of the front lawn and entrance to the courthouse to add a ramp to accommodate those with disabilities.

In a separate motion, the commission voted to authorize the chairman and county attorneys to formulate and execute documents– including interaction with the bonding company – to implement the termination and provide for completion of the construction project.

“The commission decided unanimously to take this action due to breach of contract,” Commission Chairman Chris Green said.

In a separate matter, the commission passed a resolution entering into an agreement with the Alabama Department of Transportation (ALDOT). The agreement covers a project involving intersection improvements on Ala 160 at Mountain Woods Lake Road, drainage correction at Standholton Drive, and associated relocation of water utilities. The project, estimated at $500,000, will be paid for by a grant from the Metropolitan Planning Organization with 20 percent matching funds provided by Blount County Water Authority.

The commission approved the award of annual bids for office supplies, fuel, oil changes, road paving, and construction materials. The following is an abbreviated summary:

Janitorial supplies: National IPA Purchasing Coop/ Supplyworks (secondary)
Office supplies: Blount Office Supplies
Copy, computer paper: One Source
Oil change: Jeff’s Muffler & Oil Change
Emulsified asphalt: Blacklidge, Ergon (secondary)
Annual paving (hot mix): Whitaker Contracting
Annual paving (tar/gravel): Charles E. Watts Inc.
Roadway pipe, box culverts: Harvey Culvert
Cement: Lehigh Cement
Concrete: Kirkpatrick
Sandstone: Alabama Wholesale Stone
Striping: J. C. Cheek

Plant hot mix, plant cold mix with slag, plant cold mix with stone, paving aggregate (washed stone), and paving aggregate (general purpose): all the above categories are designated as to primary and secondary suppliers and differ somewhat by district, according to a prescribed schedule.

The commission considered a motion to contract with Susan Moore to pave Ballard Road, Ellison Circle, Moore Road, Ridgeway Drive, and Bulldog Road, all in District 2. Commissioners voted two in favor and two against the motion, with the chairman voting no to break the tie, and the motion failed.

District 1 Commissioner Allen Armstrong and District 2 Commissioner Carthal Self, voted in favor of the motion, offered by Self. District 3 Commissioner Dean Calvert and District 4 Commissioner Gary Stricklin voted against. County attorney Jeff Sherrer pointed out before the vote that the motion was in violation of a previously-established commission policy against allowing a serving commissioner to initiate a project near the end of his term that would obligate his successor to complete and pay for. In other actions, the commission:

• approved allocating $4,000 from the Tourism Fund to create and maintain a tourism website and marketing campaign promoting tourism in the county, providing a partnership with the Blount County-Oneonta Chamber of Commerce, the Blount County Economic Development Council and Hometown Bank is secured. It was noted that the West Blount Chamber of Commerce was also interested in participating as a partner and that the Blountsville Historical Park be queried as to their interest.

• approved $17,500 to video and photograph all county roads and bridges, providing GPS coordinates for input into the County Information Management System (CIMS); also approved increase in maintenance cost of the system from $525 monthly to $650 monthly.

• approved the 2017 Blount County Community Corrections Plan.

• approved memos of agreement with the Middle Alabama Area Agency on Aging (M4A) and Nectar, Snead, Blountsville, and Oneonta to cover senior activity programs for 2017, and authorized the chairman to sign documents.

• appointed Lisa Baker as county representative to the Alabama Mountain Lakes Association for a two-year term.

• approved new property insurance policy with the Association of County Commissions of Alabama (ACCA) Liability Self-Insurance Fund.

• tabled until the September meeting an action to authorize American Fidelity Assurance Company as the county’s sole cafeteria (in-insurance) plan provider. Engineering matters

The commission authorized the county engineer to:

• purchase land for additional right-of-way needed to complete the project at the U.S. 231/County Road 26 intersection in Blountsville.

• solicit bids for contract herbicide spraying of county road rights-of-way.

• solicit bids for construction for the Dalton Walker Bridge damaged in Christmas night 2016 floods.

• initiate professional service agreement for design of replacement structure for Miller Road Bridge, for chairman’s signature. Future meetings

The next work session is scheduled for Thursday, Sept. 8. The next regular business meeting is Monday, Sept. 12. Both will be at 9 a.m. in the commission boardroom at the courthouse in Oneonta.

Budget work sessions are scheduled as follows:
Thursday, Aug. 11, 9 a.m.
Thursday, Aug. 25, 9 a.m.
Thursday, Sept. 1, 9 a.m.
Thursday, Sept. 8, 1 p.m.

All will be in the commission conference room or commission boardroom, depending on attendance. The meetings are open to the public.