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Justice center road design fee unexpected

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Grimes County Commissioners Court held a Regular Meeting Wednesday, Sept. 2, and approved numerous Road and Bridge requests and received information about an unexpected design fee related to the Grimes County Justice Center under construction.

Commissioner Barbara Walker presided over the court in the absence of Judge Joe Fauth. Technical difficulties prevented Facebook livestreaming of the first half-hour.

In his routine update on county maintenance projects and the Grimes County Justice and Business Center construction, Maintenance/Project Manager Al Peeler told commissioners he would approve the unexpected $27,450 design fee from architect PGAL for the road allowing center access from SH 90. The road was added to avoid exacerbating traffic on FM 149, already heavy with Anderson-Shiro school traffic, and required land acquisition.

Referring to the land swap with Jim Westmoreland and responding to Commissioner Phillip Cox’s concerns about why the fee wasn’t included in the original bid, Peeler said, “We did it different this time because we were waiting on the land swap. Typically, this (design fee) would be your first cost, then we’d get the bid for the road and then we’d proceed. We’re kind of doing it backward. We did the land swap, then we got the bid and now we’ve got the design.”

According to Peeler, the $27,450 covers architectural management fees, Geotech Engineering boring and reports, electrical and civil design, TxDOT permits, surveys and miscellaneous printing and permit fees.

Pointing out that commissioners have approved the land swap and the money to build the road, Peeler said he would approve the fee “because this is the first step we should have been doing.”

Confirming that the fee will come out of contingency funds, Peeler suggested that any shortfalls to the $12 million justice center budget come from the $400,000 office furniture budget.

R&B eyes project credits

Commissioners approved Change Order No. 2 in the amount of $11,181.16 for Champco on the FM 2445 county maintenance barn project. According to Road and Bridge Engineer Harry Walker, the change order is related to electrical work that will allow communications and routine work at the barn to continue during extended power outages.

Walker said, “We made a decision on the electrical panel to go ahead and set up to be able plug in a generator.”

Walker said they also added outlets and wiring, and security lights at the building and the gate. He expects credits upon completion from the cash allowance and MidSouth Electric Co-op.

Commissioners also approved Change Order No. 1 on the CR 204 reconstruction project.

Walker said, “This is actually a nice change order because it’s a credit back to the county in the amount of $13,880 which is a result of some negotiations we had with the contractor (Glenn Fuqua, Inc.), some design changes that actually facilitate his work and allowed him to move the project a little bit faster, which saves him some money, and he’s willing to share that savings with us.”

Burn ban

The burn ban will remain in place until the next meeting Wednesday, Sept. 9, when it will be reviewed.

Other court action:

•Approved Consent Agenda Items that included Treasurer’s list of claims and bills, payroll, and the monthly report for July 2020.

•Approved renewing the Brazos Valley Area Agency on Aging contract for congregate meals at a fixed rate of $6.54 per meal for 2020-2021.

•Approved action by the Grimes County Sheriffs Office to apply for a grant to be reimbursed for jail video cameras already purchased.

•Approved Road and Bridge request to go out for bids on replacement of the CR 323 bridge, a TxDOT Equivalent Matching Project.

•Approved a resolution authorizing treasurer Jim-Bob Trant as a signatory on the 2015, 2016 and Hurricane Harvey General Land Office grant contracts.

•Approved the 2021 county holiday schedule with the removal of Confederate Heroes Day.

•Assistant Auditor Mary Johnson had nothing new to report regarding the Coronavirus Relief Fund but advised of an additional school request for assistance using county CARES Act funds.