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Tradeport work changes rejected
Questions over whether locals can get contracts
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A potential showdown did not materialize at Monday's meeting of the Liberty County Development Authority, but the chance of a confrontation over the authority's effort to recruit minority contractors remains.
Andrew Smith, president of Dream Builder Investment & Development and of Enterprise Paint and Supply, wrote in a letter to the authority that a team of minority and non-minority had been formed to bid on the entire $30 million Tradeport East water reclamation plant.
In a letter dated June 16 Smith asked for a 30-day delay in the deadline for bid submission because of the complexity of the project. CH2MHill, which holds the contract for the design and construction of the plant, responded June 17, denying Smith's request.
David Stanley, project manager at CH2MHill, wrote that the firm held more than $6 million in proposals for process equipment that would expire if the bid period were extended, "with the likely outcome a significant increase in cost."
In a separate letter to LCDA Chairman Allen Brown, CH2MHill's Wayne Murphy explained that delay could cost 10 to 20 percent, "an additional $600,000 to $1.2 million on this equipment alone."
Murphy added, "In addition I feel it is important for the board to understand CH2MHill, in an attempt to attract smaller, local minority contractors, and after consultation with the board, broke the overall bid package into small sub packages.
"Which means Mr. Smith's desire to put a team together to bid the entire project, while admirable, is not consistent with the board project vision or in compliance with the published requests for proposals."
Smith had asked to address the authority at Monday's meeting, but decided at the last minute not to appear.
In other business Monday the authority:
• Gave its president and chief executive officer, Ron Tolley, a couple more titles. A technicality in the authority's water and sewer bonds requires that it have an executive director and a project superintendent, so Tolley got both of those titles.
• Extended its agreement with the Thomas and Hutton engineering firm to complete link up of potable water and "purple pipe" water for reuse through the Tradeport East project.
• Heard from Tolley that Liberty Regional Medical Center CEO Scott Kroell was consulting an architect about the plan to offer space in the Tradeport for a fire station, an EMS station for ambulances and possibly other services. Liberty Regional operates ambulance service in the county.

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