Animal Shelter plans on hold again

Published 4:17 pm Tuesday, April 16, 2024

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WINDSOR – It’s back to the drawing board for plans to build a new animal shelter here.

At their regularly scheduled meeting here April 8, the Bertie County Board of Commissioners rejected the lowest bid submitted to build the shelter and chose to meet with the project’s architect in an effort to lower the projected cost.

The low bid of $1.3 million was submitted by A.R. Chesson Construction of Williamston. Two other firms submitted bids, the highest of which was $2.9 million.

The county has set aside $410,000 in its current year budget for the project.

Now that the bids are in, Bertie County Assistant Manager David Scarborough suggested several options regarding the project. He said the board could approve the low bid and allow the contractor to begin their work with the understanding that it would take two budget years for the county to pay. Another idea is to ask A.R. Chesson to hold the price they bid until the county is approved or rejected for state funds for the shelter.

Scarborough added that the commissioners could reject all proposals and re-bid the project to see if the cost goes down.

“Right now this thing is $866 per square foot for a 1,500 square foot building,” stressed Board chair John Trent. “We’ve got a 9-1-1 Communications Center project in the works that’s coming in at $1,000 per square foot, which includes all the radio and other necessary equipment in a building that’s 5,500 square feet.”

“I think we need to revisit this; the price is too high,” stated Commissioner Ron Roberson of the animal shelter bid.

Scarborough’s final suggestion was to cancel the project entirely and use the $410,000 to renovate the existing shelter to make it sustainable for a few more years while seeking funding to build a new facility.

Commissioner Corey Ballance, Sr. asked if there would be any additional costs for the project’s architect to re-draw the plans in an effort to attract a lower construction bid, should the board decide to go that route.

“I don’t know, we would have to talk to him (architect) about that,” Scarborough replied. “The contract (with the architect) calls for $80,000 for his design work and to manage the process and then, once we hired a contractor, for him to work with that contractor while the animal shelter was being built.”

Trent motioned to reject Chesson’s bid and meet with the architect to “revalue” the project. Roberson offered a second and the motion passed without objection.

Plans to replace the current animal shelter in Windsor with a new one have been discussed by the county commissioners since 2022. The plan at that time was to construct a 2,300-square-foot shelter.

At subsequent meetings of the board, the commissioners kept downsizing the size and scope of the shelter. In January of this year, the county advertised a request for proposals to construct a 1,500 square foot animal shelter.

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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