Washington Evening Journal

Fairfield Ledger   Mt. Pleasant News
Neighbors Growing Together | Sep 20, 2018

Supervisors approve hire of building construction manager

Mar 08, 2018

By Xiomara Levsen, The JOURNAL


Carl A. Nelson & Co. was approved as the construction manager for the communications center building project at the supervisors meeting Tuesday morning.

However, there were some questions about the proposal they submitted to the county.

Washington County Sheriff’s Department chief deputy Shawn Ellingson said at a previous meeting the construction management firm told them what services they would provide to help the county through the building process.

Washington County Sheriff Jared Schneider spoke with Carl A. Nelson & Co. also, and asked them to provide a bid and a price to use them as a construction manager, Ellingson said.

“I think part of the big advantage to that is they would help us keep things on track, which we know this is a time-sensitive issue, and also the fact that they will assist us with selecting an architect, which I think is an important thing,” Ellingson said.

Washington County Attorney John Gish said he had questions about the information Carl A. Nelson submitted to the county.

“This reads to me like a proposal and not necessarily a contract or an agreement,” Gish said. “I think there are a lot of questions I have about the terms, the parties, the potential cost that aren’t put in the proposal that I think would be better suited for a written agreement — a written contract.”

Ellingson agreed with Gish and said he also had some questions about what the cost would be. Ellingson has spoken with other groups who have used them and said another benefit would be they’ll save money by having Carl A. Nelson make sure the building is done on time and of good quality.

“I think probably we’re at a point where we need to have them come up with more of a detailed contract that will spell out the specific details in it, so that would probably be something that we would have to address with them with a conference call to finalize it,” Ellingson added.

The proposal the county received was a basic standard proposal Carl A. Nelson submits for projects like this, Ellingson said.

Supervisor Jack Seward Jr. said he suspected there were items on the proposal they could negotiate on. However, since the county is on a tight timeline to get things accomplished in regard to the building project and Carl A. Nelson has a good reputation — the cost savings could be significant.

“And the third thing that I really believe that the construction manager would give us is a coordination of effort,” Seward added. “We’re really part-timers on a project like this and they would be able to identify what we really need, cut out some of the fat and hold the individual contactors’ feet to the fire to make sure we get what we want.”

He also said he was happy to see the initial proposal from Carl A. Nelson.

Abe Miller also agreed having a project manager would be good for the county. He deals with project managers regularly through his roofing business.

“If we get a good one they’re worth a million — there’s no doubt about it,” Miller said.

If there are specific items the supervisors wanted Ellingson and communications supervisor Cara Sorrells to ask Carl A. Nelson about Ellingson said he would be happy to do that for them.

Seward pointed out to Ellingson that besides himself, Richard Young and Stan Stoops were members of either the communications commission, E911 or emergency management. He suggested they all do the diligence in the background, getting the best deal they can, and bring back to the supervisors a contract they could approve.

“I don’t think we need to have the Board of Supervisors be involved with a subcommittee or anything like that,” Seward said.

Miller agreed with Seward and said as long as they come up with a contract this would be fine.

Supervisor Richard Young agreed with Seward. He said there were five people on a building committee and they should discuss the proposal together. However, there is a time crunch and they need really to hire an architect because the Requests for Proposals for the radio equipment are due March 22. Young said he would like to see the proposal from the construction management firm ironed out by the end of March.

“I’ll get with everybody and their schedule and we’ll get a meeting set up to go through this step by step,” Ellingson said.

Seward added he would like to have the county attorney’s office involved in looking at the proposal because they’re providing good guidance to the supervisors as they’re going through this process.

Miller asked where things stood on how the new communications center building would be financed. Would it be through a bond vote or another avenue of financing?

“It sounds to me from what I gathered being at all the meetings, is there’s three options,” Ellingson said. “Option one is a possible bond in November. Option two is there’s going to be a grant [application] that’s going to be submitted, and option three is whether we work with an EMA (Emergency Management Authority) [and] have communications be part of EMA and pay for it out of an EMA tax levy. Right now, those are the three ways we’ve talked about paying for it, and it’s kind of all up in the air as far as which one that’s going to be.”

Miller said he still believed the public should have their say on the building project by voting, and he hasn’t heard any negative comments about the building.

“It’s not that they’re not wanting it,” Miller added. “It’s ‘Why do we need it?’ And you let them know why they need it and it’s ‘Well, we’d rather have that than something else that is going on,’ because that affects everybody in the county — having a good communications system.”

“I hope that’s the case, Abe,” Ellingson replied. “It’s just a lot to gamble on.”

Seward made a motion to authorize the communications commission, E911 and emergency management boards to move forward with plans to contract with Carl A. Nelson for their construction management services for the building project. The motion was approved unanimously.

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