Upshur County Commissioners Court on Wednesday approved several agreements related to a state grant for the forthcoming major historical renovation of the 75-year-old county courthouse.
The court approved an amended agreement with Komatsu Architecture for architectural services; an agreement with Baird, Hampton and Brown, Inc., for mechanical and electrical engineering services; and an agreement with Jaster-Quintanilla LLP for structural engineering services.
The grant would come from the Texas Historic Courthouse Preservation Program.
But the court took no action on another matter related to the restoration—determining the delivery method for bids related to construction under the grant.
County Judge Dean Fowler said the court had two options: competitive sealed proposals, or having a construction manager as a constructor who already has subcontractors on his payroll, and who can provide a total cost.
Fowler said he had been advised that it is sometimes cheaper to use a manager, and that doing so makes timing better. For example, a sub-contractor can’t say he can’t get there for two weeks, which would interrupt the work flow, Fowler said.
He raised the possibility that Pct. 2 Comm. Cole Hefner, who works for but does not own his family’s roofing firm, could perform the task because of the nature of that business. Hefner said he wanted to visit with the project architect.
Pct. 1 Comm. James Crittenden asked whether Hefner’s acting as manager would constitute a conflict of interest. Hefner replied that his company would not be involved in the project.
Pct. 4 Comm. Mike Spencer said Hefner would just use his experience. Hefner said the project would fall within his experience to oversee maintenance, and he indicated his acting as manager might save the county money.
“If we were to oversee it (the project), it would take out the contractor’s management fee,” Hefner pointed out. He said talking to the architect would let him determine if he had the knowledge to do the task.
Fowler said the desired date to begin some of the work is Oct. 1. The matter of how bids will be handled will be on the court’s next agenda.
In other business Wednesday, the court voted to table a proposal to let state Game Warden Todd Long use the county’s annex building in Gladewater for office space.
Pct. 3 Comm. Lloyd Crabtree expressed concern over lack of space in the building. When Pct. 2 Justice of the Peace Lyle Potter pointed out that “Gregg County’s got a huge office right there in Gladewater (which lies partly in Gregg County),” Crittenden asked why Upshur County was providing office space for another county’s game warden.
Fowler replied that Pct. 3 Justice of the Peace Rhonda Welch, who is housed in the Gladewater annex, stated that Long was writing tickets on Lake Gladewater which were being processed through her office.
Also Wednesday, the court:
• Approved election judges and alternates for a 1-year term starting Sept. 1.
• Accepted the resignation of volunteer Veterans Service Officer Jim Bowling. The office is not scheduled to reopen.
• Approved sponsoring the Pritchett Water Supply Corporation for its application to obtain a state grant for an elevated water tank.
• Authorized an interlocal agreement with the Big Sandy City Council to place on city property a building which will house a radio repeater for the Sheriff’s Office.
• Authorized trading in used motor oil, filters and accessories for credit on other materials. No vendor was specified.
• Approved the $954 purchase of a new computer for Pct. 1 Justice of the Peace Laura Norred’s courtroom.
• Approved paying $325 for a shredder for 115th District Judge Lauren Parish’s office.