A few items of interest that the Commission has been working on are below.
• This week, Treasurer Brenda O’Brien presented the Commission with the semi-annual Treasurer’s Report which is a snapshot of the County’s financial performance during the first 6 months of 2018. Revenues at the halfway point are at 50.02% of projections, and expenditures are at 38.04%, so we are on pace to accomplish what we set out to accomplish AND put a little money back in the reserves. Of particular note is the balance in the Road and Bridge Fund. You may recall that in past articles we have discussed that a healthy reserve balance in the fund is about $1 million, but as of June 30, 2018, the reserve balance is $3,897,719.96! We will spend some of that balance down on projects before the end of the year, but we are on track to again finish the year in a strong financial position in Road and Bridge. The County as a whole is on track to have another good year financially.
• Permitting and easement acquisition activities continue on a number of projects. Of course, we have to do an Indiana bat study for the bridge project on Taylor School Rd. to make sure we aren’t upsetting any nesting habitat. The bat habitat study is just one of many regulations that we are required to adhere to in order to get a project off the ground. The creek crossing on Taylor School Rd. has been the site of a number of high water rescues, including one some years ago when a young mother was trapped in her vehicle with two small children. Once this project is complete, the dangerous crossing will be replaced with a safe, well-built bridge which will be 80% funded by a Hazard Mitigation Grant through FEMA. While there are regulations with which we have to comply that seem burdensome at times, the effort is worthwhile as the net result is a safer travel route for the taxpayers of Lincoln County.
• Speaking of regulations, our status as a 2nd Class county brings with it a number of statutory regulations regarding procurement, bid solicitation, purchases, etc. Each formal bid packet that the County prepares is crafted on the basis of these statutes along with the technical requirements for the particular product or service being solicited. In addition to submitting the bid price, the vendor must also comply with all requirements in the packet in order to be considered. Unfortunately, bids that do not meet the requirements must be rejected. A recent example is our Aggregate Sealcoat bid packet, wherein a vendor submitted a bid of $800,200 which was significantly lower than the second bid of $1,496,200. While that seems like an attractive bid on paper, the rest of the packet was missing a number of required documents, not the least of which was the McCleod Mix Design which is the “formula” that outlines the methodology they intend to use to complete the job. The low bid vendor also contacted our Project Management office and shared that they had made a calculation error by not factoring in all necessary information to submit an accurate bid. Fortunately, we discovered all of this prior to making the award, and ultimately the bid was rejected.
• That’s all we have time for now. As always, call, e-mail or stop by the Courthouse if you have questions. Until next week…