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Lighting project approved

JACKSON – Let there be lights!

On Monday, the Northampton County Board of Commissioners approved an athletic field lighting bid the Northampton County Recreation Complex.

The commissioners, in a 4-1 decision, voted to accept the $645,515 bid from E&R, Inc. of Kinston, the lowest negotiated offer.

“In order to receive the grant money from the Parks and Recreation Trust Fund, athletic field lights are needed,” said James Roberts, Northampton County Recreation Director.

The grant from Parks and Recreation was $500,000 and awarded one year ago with the stipulation that the recreation part of the project would be finished in three years.

Northampton County Manager Wayne Jenkins said the price was negotiated down from $672,430 through utilizing the county’s Public Works staff to unload the lights instead of E&R personnel, selecting different fuses and amps and scheduling the lighting to be installed at the same time.

The lighting will consist of competitive and recreational lighting.

Even though the motion passed there was still contention about the bid leading up to the decision.

Commissioner Chester Deloatch (D-3rd), who gave the only nay, questioned Roberts as to why companies in the county were not approached about the bid in an effort to keep business in the county.

“I know of no companies in the county that do this type of lighting,” Roberts said.

Commissioner Vice Chairman Robert Carter (D-4th) questioned Roberts about the lease that was approved in February with Musco Lighting.

Roberts said the agreement had gone over budget and bids were opened again.

Deloatch stated Bo Ray with Roanoke Electric could have done the project cheaper.

Commissioner Chairwoman Virginia Spruill (D-2nd) said the bid had been advertised as required by law.

Jenkins supported Spruill by saying the bid had been advertised in two local papers.

“I didn’t see it in the papers,” said Deloatch. “If I had seen the advertisement I would have mentioned it.”

“We can’t pull and make people bid,” said Spruill.

Commissioner James Hester (D-1st) gave a motion to approve the bid from E&R, Inc., one seconded by Carter.

The motion was approved 4-1.

Jenkins provided the board with affidavits from The Daily Herald and the Roanoke-Chowan News-Herald later in the meeting as proof the bid was advertised.

In 2006 the land was purchased for the 40-acre complex, which will comprise of several sports fields and courts and a walking trail on the grounds. The center will hold a 480 seat auditorium, offices for the Northampton County Office on Aging and the Recreation Department as well as a walk in cooler. Phase two of the project will allow additional health and physical equipment to be added.