DSS project re-bid

Published 9:35 am Tuesday, August 7, 2012

JACKSON – Northampton County will soon seek bids again for the construction of a new Department of Social Services (DSS) building.

On Monday, Northampton County Manager Wayne Jenkins gave the Board of Commissioners an update on the $7.46 million project that is funded through the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA) in part by a $6.96 million loan and a $500,000 grant from United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) Rural Development.

Jenkins noted the two provisions required by the ARRA funding: the funds must be used to purchase American-made materials and the Davis-Bacon Act concerning federal minimum wage must apply to the project as well.

“When the DSS project was initially advertised for bid those two provisions were not included,” he said.

Jenkins added upon review by USDA officials that determination was made requiring the project to go back through the bidding process and the project was currently being advertised for contract.

A pre-bid conference is scheduled for Aug. 22 and the official opening for bids is set for Aug. 30.

“If the stars line up and the project comes back within budget, it will take us probably a couple of weeks to execute the contract documents and the notice to proceed to the contractor so there could be some activity on the site probably some time in the middle of September,” Jenkins said.

He added if the project comes in over budget the commissioners would have some decisions to make.

Commissioner Robert Carter questioned if the project came in under budget would the commissioners and the DSS Board have the opportunity to expand.

“Sure,” Jenkins responded. “Remember any federally funded project that involves grant money if a project comes in under budget and you choose not to build the project out and use all of the funds. The loan funds are used first and any grant funds that are not used revert back to the federal government.”

“So we need to expend every dollar,” Carter said.

“We need to wisely make sure that the current and future needs of our DSS staff and (those who utilize) the services are maximized through the loan and grant,” Jenkins said.