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Commissioners take next step in courthouse repairs

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ANDERSON- Repairs to the Grimes County Courthouse in Anderson, a result from damages incurred during Hurricane Harvey, are one step closer to getting underway.

The historic storm dumped 20 to 40 inches of rain throughout the county causing extensive damage to numerous businesses, homes, properties and the historical landmark courthouse.

Commissioners heard the recommendation of Al Peeler, Grimes County building maintenance manager, during a special meeting of Commissioner’s Court Monday, July 8. “Through a stringent process it is in our professional opinion that we would like to award Premier Metalworks LLC with the bid for construction repairs on the Grimes County Courthouse,” said Peeler.

Peeler stated Premier Metalworks LLC has done construction repairs on at least 20 courthouses. With the courthouse being a historical landmark Peeler said it is valuable to have someone who has experience working to the standards of the Texas Historical Commission, who must approve the details and process of the repairs.

According to Peeler the bid from Premier Metalworks ranges from $1.4 million to $1.6 million.

Repairs are anticipated to be covered by an insurance claim, but currently the dollar amount hasn’t been approved by Texas Association of Counties (TAC).

Without an approval and committal of funds from TAC, the recommendation of Grimes County Attorney Jon C. Fultz is to award the bid to whichever entity the court deems as the lowest responsible bidder with a stipulation. “If you award the lowest responsible bid to an entity, then the question is how do you fund it,” said Fultz.

Fultz said that TAC stated funding is available for the project and even gave a preliminary number on approximately how much could potentially be awarded, but a recent conversation he had with TAC on Wednesday, July 3, didn’t provide a definitive number. Fultz said in that conversation he spoke with a representative from TAC and that representative’s supervisor where he was told the bid needs to be approved first so TAC can look at the details of the repairs and ensure they are covered under insurance. According to Fultz TAC anticipates being able to have an approved n umber in approximately 30 days.

“Without a definitive number from TAC, I think the court will need to award the bid to whichever entity they deem as the lowest responsible bid contingent on the funds being approved by TAC,” said Fultz. Fultz explained this allows the county an out, so they aren’t on the hook for the cost of the bid either in full or partially if funds from TAC don’t cover the cost of repairs.

Peeler said the repairs covered under the bid from Premier Metalworks are mainly for roof repairs but also include repairs to the tower, gutter repairs and masonry around the windows. It’s been a long process, but Peeler hopes to finally see repairs begin in mid-August.

Grimes County Judge Joe Fauth III made the motion to tentatively award the courthouse repair bid to Premier Metalworks LLC contingent on TAC’s review and determination of money to be awarded for the project. It was seconded by Precinct 1 Commissioner Chad Mallett, called for a vote, and unanimously approved.

“I spoke with Premiere Metalworks LLC after the conclusion of commissioner’s court and they were pleased with being awarded the bid and ensured me they will work with us in every way possible,” said Peeler.

Updates to TAC’s final decision will be posted as they become available.