Davison County renovation clears hurdleLower-than-expected bid accepted for asbestos removal.
By: Ross Dolan, The Daily Republic
The Davison County commissioners learned Tuesday that removing asbestos from the county’s 1420 N. Main St. building will cost only about half of the expected tab.
The presence of the hazardous material, which is in the floor tiles and ceiling of the older building, has been holding up renovation efforts. The space will be used by the commissioners and as a new clinic for the county’s community health nursing staff.
The commissioners opened five bids Tuesday at the courthouse and approved the low bid of $13,400 from ESA Inc., of North Sioux City, Iowa. Other bids included Mid-States Asbestos Removal, of Davis, $13,984; L&L Insulation, Rapid City, $29,150; Horsley Specialties, Rapid City, $25,806; and the original bidder, Gary Snow & Associates, of Pierre, $24,950.
In early January, the commissioners approved a quote from Gary Snow & Associates, of Pierre, for $24,837. They later learned that the project should have been put to public bid and retracted that authorization.
Deene Dayton, of the state Department of Legislative Audit, said the removal cost, while it was under the $50,000 threshold for a single job, was part of the larger $261,700 renovation contract, and as such, all parts of the larger project must be put out to public bid.
Puetz Corp., of Mitchell, is the construction manager-at-risk for the project, but asbestos removal was not included in Puetz’s bid.
Commissioner Randy Reider wondered at the disparity of the bids, but Commission Chairman John Claggett felt the presence of two low bids validated the lower pricing for the job.
The commissioners approved the low ESA bid with a 4-0-1 vote subject to confirmation by county maintenance supervisor Mark Ruml that the ESA contract meets all bid specifications.
Commissioner Denny Kiner, who was on jury duty, was absent from Tuesday’s meeting.
Salary study proposal
Auditor Susan Kiepke told the commissioners that she was unable to locate a South Dakota company that performs salary studies. Kiepke did reach Condrey & Associates, of Athens, Ga., which has compensation plans for Minnehaha and Pennington counties and for the cities of Aberdeen, Pierre, Rapid City and Spearfish.
In 2011, Condrey gave the county a bid of $24,500 to do a salary study. It was rejected at that time as too costly. Kiepke said Condrey confirmed earlier this week that it would honor the earlier bid.
As part of its services, Condrey would distribute questionnaires to county employees; conduct interviews; develop updated job descriptions and salary data; and develop a stepped job classification system and pay plan.
The commissioners turned the proposal over to the county’s salary committee, which includes Commissioner Kim Weitala, Register of Deeds Deb Young and Kiepke.
“It will be a brainstorming session to look at what’s been done in the past and to consider our options,” Kiepke said, adding that the county would rather not spend $24,500, but a better salary system is needed.
The committee’s goal, she said, will be to have a system with greater fairness and consistency in regard to defining employee job duties and awarding compensation.
If the commissioners do approve the Condrey option, the cost of the salary study would be paid from the county’s contingency budget, Kiepke said.
Dwindling road cash
The commissioners heard from state Department of Transportation representatives Doug Kinniburgh and Noel Clocksin , who were invited by Claggett to review government programs for the commissioners.
Kinniburgh, an engineer with the DOT’s local government assistance office in Pierre, and Clocksin , a DOT programming and funding engineer, said federal cutbacks will reduce road funds by 4.5 percent in 2013.
The county’s state transportation project allocation, which was $149,707, will be $143,260 this year.
Both DOT reps said that all the state’s counties are trying to do more with less every year.
Statewide, all 66 counties will have to share a $10 million pot of money for road work, they said, but cities will do better. The 15 largest cities will be able to share $9 million in road funds.
Commissioner Gerald Weiss bristled at what he viewed as an inequitable distribution of funds.
“Why is it so easy for the city to get funds and so difficult for us to get money?” he asked.
“I wish I had an answer,” Clocksin said.
Clocksin said the state’s bridge replacement program has been hard hit by federal cutbacks and changes.
“I wish we had better news on that,” she said. “It’s a little disheartening.”
She said 1,000 of the state’s 3,000 bridges are eligible for replacement.
Clocksin said bridge replacement funding was cut from $8 million to $7.5 million during a time when many thought states would be getting more after the bridge collapse in Minneapolis that killed 13 people in 2007.
The money hasn’t materialized, she said, and the costs of inspections, instead of coming from new funding, have instead been taken from the dwindling pot of existing bridge money.
Clocksin said 21 of Davison County’s 88 bridges are more than 75 years old, and 34 of those bridges are more 50 years old. Six of the seven county bridges needing replacement are on the state program at an overall cost of $2.18 million.
Claggett said the state’s counties need to do a better job of lobbying for a greater share of funds.
“Unless someone comes up with a solution,” he said, “we’re going to be driving our semis down dirt roads.”
In other business, the commissioners:
* Approved a job advertisement seeking a replacement for Dan Sudrla, who last week told the commissioners his retirement is imminent. Sudrla administers the county’s zoning, drainage, floodplain, mapping and 911 addressing programs. Claggett said he prefers that Sudrla’s replacement operate as a separate department. Sudrla said the department should have at least two employees to ensure continuity and customer service. “You don’t want to be in a position where a person gets offered a better job or a person is ill, that you lose all services,” he said.
* Approved the expenditure of $442 for the county’s share of a $2,212 Lidar laser speed gun for the Sheriff’s Office. Sheriff Steve Brink said the device will allow deputies to pick out individual vehicles from traffic. The remainder of the cost was paid through a grant.
* Were told by Brink that he will present his recommendation for a chief deputy next week and he will also offer salary recommendations. All three applications were submitted by well-qualified current deputies, he said.