Special meeting defers action on courthouse renovation bid

Blount County Commission

The Blount County Commission voted in a special meeting Thursday to defer a decision on accepting a bid for extensive renovation of courthouse water, electrical, and heating/ventilation/air conditioning systems until the Aug. 13 business meeting.

Both bids received were above $2.5 million, thus greatly exceeding the $1.5 million the commission had allotted for the project. Following the vote, Commission Chairman Chris Green said the commission would take the matter under further advisement to carefully consider options available to the commission for remedying critical courthouse infrastructure needs that have already been put off for nearly two decades. Black Road grant application

The commission passed two resolutions related to an application for a competitive ADECA grant for a county road paving project next year. The first resolution named Community Consultants as the grant administrator for the project. The second identified the area to which the grant is to be applied. Selected as the grant target area was Black Road, connecting County Road 55 and U. S. 278 north of Blountsville in District 2. Also included in the paving project target area is Mount Road and the portion of Mount Hebron Road connecting Black Road and County Road 49. Total length of the project is eight road miles.

Kevin Kessler of Community Consultants said the project will meet grant requirements for a low- to middle-income area and that it was the best bet for a grant award out of several Blount County projects considered. The grant amount is for $350,000 plus $80,000 in-kind contribution from the county. Kessler said he expects 20 to 25 applications will be filed by counties around the state for paving projects, and that the pot of grant money available should fund eight to 10 of them. Miller Road Bridge

The commission awarded the bid for replacement of the Miller Road Bridge to Bob Smith Construction with a low bid of $655,000. Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) reimbursements for bridges damaged in the Christmas night 2015 flood totaled $534,000 and will be applied toward the replacement cost. Other amounts for services provided by the county engineering department will further offset the total out-of-pocket cost to the county. Construction is expected to begin in October and to take about three months to complete. Civil Link presentation

The commission also heard a presentation by Civil Link concerning its pavement evaluation and management program. The program emphasizes preventive techniques for preserving pavement for longer periods of time, thus minimizing the amount of costly re-paving necessary.