The Central Virginian

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Downside to Louisa downtown project

Posted on Friday, October 4, 2013 at 10:37 am

Controversy prevailed between council members at the Louisa Town Council meeting on Sept. 17 regarding the actual cost of funding the Louisa Downtown Improvement project and the amount of time legally allowed for council comments before a vote is taken.

Back in June, Town Manager Brian Marks informed council that all bids received for the improvement project had come in well above the engineer’s estimate. The bids were within the monetary amount that was authorized and appropriated by Virginia Department of Transportation.

In July, Marks suggested  council reject all bids received and place it out for rebid. At that time, council unanimously rejected all bids, including the lowest bid of $1,500,882, which included benches, trash cans and parking meters.

After a lengthy discussion, Vice-Mayor Mary J. Clarke motioned to move forward with the project, excluding parking meters and street furniture. Council Member Garland Nuckols voted against.

The improvement project was re-advertised with street furniture, trash cans and parking meters listed as additions to the main project.

At the most recent meeting, Marks told council that though the bid base was lower by about $150,000, but there was only a $2,000 difference from the lowest previous bid received when the additions were added.

“That tells me two things,” Marks said. “This bid is probably about the best one we are going to get.”

Marks, along with Project Manager Brad Humphrey, recommended council enter into a contract with Messer Contracting, of Glen Allen, with a base bid of $1,380,509.

Marks advised council it needed to decide whether to spend the funds for the additions.  The cost of the benches would be an additional $44,064, trash cans $27,264 and parking meters $45,695.

Marks and Humphrey suggested council leave the benches and trash cans in the project, but eliminate parking meters and consider a zone-type of parking enforcement.

To read the entire story, see the Oct. 3 edition of The Central Virginian.