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BoE OKs Olvey Field bid, talks millage
Amendment approved to buy iPads for members
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The Liberty County Board of Education approved a $6,713,000 bid for phase two construction at Olvey Field and discussed maintaining the rate of 15.5 mills during its meeting Tuesday.

Altman+Barrett architect Walter Altman said 10 companies submitted bids on the project and that the prices were fairly consistent.

Prime Construction, which has an office in Savannah, offered the lowest qualified bid with an amount of $6.7 million, below the budgeted amount of $7.2 million, Altman said.

“If everything checks out, we’re coming today for approval to move into a contract and get him started as soon as we can,” he said Tuesday. 

On recommendation from Rodger Osbourne, the district’s director of facilities and maintenance, the board unanimously approved the lowest qualifying bid and authorized the contract.

The phase two work includes changing the position of Olvey Field and the layout of the surrounding stadium, demolishing old buildings on-site and constructing new restrooms, concession stands, ticket booths and visitors’ locker rooms.

The board also discussed maintaining the current millage rate of 15.5 mills, as recommended by Jason Rogers, district assistant superintendent for administrative services.

Rogers said that maintaining the millage rate at 15.5 mills will generate an estimated $18.1 million in property tax billings.

But because there was actual growth in the digest, there would be an estimated 1.52 percent increase in net taxes levied, resulting in an estimated $270,000 increase in potential property tax net.

Rogers reminded the board that it is not likely to realize $18.1 million from property taxes because that amount assumes a 100 percent rate of collection and does not account for a 2.5 percent collection fee the county retains.

“Taking all that into consideration, that will come in line with what we budgeted,” Rogers said.

Because the millage rate will not increase, the board is not required to hold three public hearings, but it did schedule a called meeting for 6 p.m. Nov. 28 to allow public input and a board vote.

The board also approved a budget amendment to fund the purchase of six iPads for board members.

While the original budget for the board’s technology needs was set at $1,500, the estimated cost of the six tablets is $3,120, Rogers said. He recommended that the board reallocate funds from its travel or dues line items to cover the $1,620 difference.

Citing concerns that the budget amount for computer equipment is not enough to move into the future, the board voted to pull the $1,620 from fund balance and increase the computer equipment budget to $3,120.

The board also discussed selecting an energy-management consultant to evaluate its consumption and machinery to indicate where it could make changes to become more efficient.

Board Chairwoman Lily Baker and members Carol Guyett, Becky Carter and Marcia Anderson each mentioned concerns that the board engaged a similar consultant about 10 years ago and that it did not yield results.

Instead, the consultant recommended behavioral changes such as shutting down air conditioners and heaters, which left many teachers who put in long hours in uncomfortable positions, they said.

Osbourne and Superintendent Dr. Judy Scherer both explained that the discussion did not require an up-front commitment, but rather it would guide their process of selecting final candidates to go before the board. Once candidates are narrowed, the board can discuss its concerns with them before making any decisions or expenditures.

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