Contract awarded

Published 9:59 am Thursday, December 6, 2012

WINTON – No earth has yet to be moved on the new Hertford County Judicial Center and County Government office, but the projects are gaining steam.

At their regularly scheduled meeting here Monday morning, the Hertford County Board of Commissioners approved three key elements of the pending $12.225 million projects as they voted to award the construction contract to A.R. Chesson Company of Williamston; amended the capital project ordinance and scheduled a public hearing for 7:15 p.m. on Monday, Dec. 17 to move forward with putting a financing plan in place.

Prior to voting on the three separate items, the commissioners heard a project update from Hertford County Manager Loria Williams.

“First we had to amend the capital project ordinance that we put in place two to three years ago to account for the way which we were going to spend money for this project,” she told the five-member board. “They typically have to be amended all the time, basically it’s when you get bids in hand is when you amend it to reflect what you think your actual costs are going to be. This amendment has been reviewed by the architect as well and is now presented to you for approval. It must go with the LGC (Local Government Commission) application that is to get out of here by week’s end.”

Williams noted that the amendment reflects total costs for the project, to include construction ($9,983,476), furnishings and equipment ($666,738), design fees and expenses ($850,306), land and right-of-way ($70,000), materials/testing/special inspections ($155,744) and contingency ($499,174). She stressed that the furnishings and equipment costs are estimated and those dollars can be better controlled once the project is underway.

“As a result of reimbursement resolutions and probably also a part of the financing contract, we will ask that any dollars that are not spent within this capital project to be used for future debt service,” Williams said. “We’re scheduled to talk more about the financing contract at our next meeting. “We’ll set up interim financing, we’ll set up an escrow account from which we can start paying bills from. Initially we will reimburse ourselves and place that money back into the general fund once we have the financing contact in hand. Two years from now (when the project is expected to be completed), we’ll start making debt service payments on the loan.”

The amendment was approved without objection.

Contingent on a final review by attorney Chuck Revelle, legal counsel to the county, and approval of financing the facilities by the LGC, the contract to build the new Judicial Center was awarded to A.R. Chesson Construction Company, who was the low bidder on the project.

Bids on the financing contract (shopping for the best interest rates) were scheduled to be received by 12 noon on Monday. With those bids in hand, Williams said the county needs to conduct a public hearing on the financing aspect of the project prior to forwarding that to the LGC.

At their second meeting in June, the commissioners placed their stamp of approval on constructing two facilities on 25 acres that was donated, plus one 10-acre tract purchased, from the partners developing the Riversedge subdivision.

The Judicial Center (courthouse) will be a three story facility encompassing 45,456 gross square feet. The Center will house all departments in the existing courthouse plus the District Attorney’s Office and Child Enforcement Office, both currently in Ahoskie.

Additionally, the project includes a single story Government Center (10,385 gross square feet) that will be built adjacent, but not connected, to the courthouse. That facility will house the county manager’s office, tax collection office, tax assessment office, land records, finance office and economic development (planning and zoning) office. In turn, that space in the current administration building in Winton will be used by Hertford County DSS.

About Cal Bryant

Cal Bryant, a 40-year veteran of the newspaper industry, serves as the Editor at Roanoke-Chowan Publications, publishers of the Roanoke-Chowan News-Herald, Gates County Index, and Front Porch Living magazine.

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