Bertie opts to repair water damage

Published 9:04 am Thursday, June 10, 2010

WINDSOR – The Bertie County Commissioners agreed to repair water damage to their newest building while at the same time seeking legal recourse.

During a storm last month, offices inside the new Department of Social Services Building were flooded, according to Assistant Bertie County Manager and DSS Director Morris Rascoe.

“We came in to the office and found water standing in seven or eight of the offices on the side of the building where my office is located,” Rascoe told the board late last month.

At the May 24 meeting, board members were asked to spend nearly $3,000 for a French drain to attempt to avoid future problems. Commissioners expressed dissatisfaction with the French drain as an answer and asked County Attorney Lloyd Smith to check into legal options.

A linear French drain is simply a “moat” that protects a yard or house from sub-surface or surface water.

“I have a problem with the expense being the county’s,” Board Chairman Norman M. Cherry Sr. said. “The amount is not the issue.”

Board members decided to wait before making a decision, saying they believed it was necessary to have the Construction Manager at Risk (Ellis-Walker Builders of Fayetteville) find a remedy to the situation rather than spending money on a new structure.

Monday, Smith told the board he had researched the contract and it held the Manager at Risk responsible for one year, but he said that didn’t end the liability.

“If something wasn’t done right, the one year doesn’t matter,” Smith said. “If there was negligence, he could still be liable. I just need to know what direction you want to go.”

Commissioners said they wanted to pursue the issue and have the contractor answer for the problems.

Rascoe said, in the meantime, he has been working to get estimates on replacing the carpets and having the furniture removed for the work.

Bertie County Manager Zee Lamb asked the board to allow the French drain to be put in as they worked toward resolving the issues with the building.

Commissioner Rick Harrell made a motion to proceed with Commission Vice Chairman L.C. Hoggard III offering a second. It passed without objection.

Board members told Smith and Lamb to move forward with determining the financial responsibility for the water issues at the new DSS building.