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Friday, March 20, 2009

No Money for Sewer and Water to New Jail Site

Commissioners pass on bids for sewer and water project

The Board of Canyon County Commissioners have rejected all bids for sewer and water line construction to the new jail site, citing a lack of funds.

“The recommended bid is $1.3 million below estimates, and while we could recoup some of the money through latecomer fees, the money’s not there,” said Commissioner Steve Rule. “This is a great bid, but on the other hand, if we take this $851,000 out of the general fund, that money’s going to have to come out of other departments.”

Commissioner Kathy Alder said she has been in contact with the USDA regarding potential funding, as they have funding for rural development, which the county might be able to use for this project. However, she said, her contact was in Washington, DC until Monday, and wouldn’t have an answer before the bids for the project expired at the end of the day.

Chairman David Ferdinand pointed out that just a day ago, the commissioners and elected officials met to talk about the budget deficit, and potential ways to make up the shortfall. “The bid is $1 million under what we’d anticipated, however, we did not anticipate the dramatic downturn from State of Idaho sales tax and revenue sharing, as well as fees.” In weighing the decision, he said, commissioners “have to look at the overall good of the county.”

“This is not a decision we’re taking lightly,” Rule said. “I know all the work that goes into preparing the bid, and all the legal work that went into it. If the funds were there, we’d have done this in a heartbeat.”

The motion, which carried unanimously, included a stipulation that if the money becomes available, the commissioners could put the project out for bid a second time.

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