Supervisors receive update on construction contract

By Xiomara Levsen, The JOURNAL


The supervisors reviewed a contract with Carl A. Nelson and Company at the meeting Tuesday morning, but still had some questions that needed to be answered.

At the beginning of March, the company submitted a proposal to the county to be construction manager for the construction of the new communications center. There were some questions about the items in the proposal they submitted to the county, but the supervisors OK?d the E-911, communications and emergency boards to move forward getting a contract of services from Carl A. Nelson and Company for the project.

They submitted a 28-page contract, chief deputy Shawn Ellingson said. The day he received the contract he sent it to the supervisors, Cara Sorrells, Sheriff Jared Schneider and Washington County attorney John Gish.

After looking through the contract, Gish said his biggest questions on the contract were how and when it would be amended and the expenses.

The first question he had, though, was on the first page of the document. On the contract it listed the sheriff?s office as the owner of the project. Gish would like that changed to the county of Board of Supervisors since the county owns the property and the auditor?s office manages that property.

?The contract itself, in my opinion, looked fairly unfinished and had a number of parts that had TBD or to be determined and had the comment that ?will be amended later,?? Gish said. ?Nothing in the contract identifies how or when the contract could be amended, so I think we need some language in there that identifies how that can take place.?

Ellingson said the ?to be determined? parts of the contract could be due to the fact that they?re moving forward pretty fast with getting Carl A. Nelson and Company on board as a construction manager for this project. Some of the items for the project, such as hiring an architect, they?re supposed to help the county with, but that hasn?t happened yet.

The other item Gish wanted clarification on was expenses in article 11 and 12 of the contract.

?Some parts seem duplicative of what the county might be responsible for and in article 11 in particular it identifies some things the county would have to pay for, but recommends a $15,000 lump sum,? he said. ?I think maybe it would be good to sit down with them to figure out what would be included in that to make sure the billing is appropriate.?

Carl A. Nelson and Company suggested having a conference call with representatives from the county and this project to get things ironed out, Ellingson said.

Supervisor Jack Seward Jr. said he noticed there was a section listed as reimbursable expenses, but thought some those should be included in the lump sum and could be negotiated further.

?They talked about a lump-sum payment, but then at the same time talked about installment payments, so we got to figure that out,? Gish said. ?I think my biggest questions were how would this be amended, under what conditions and about the expenses. I think we all want to make sure that the taxpayer fundings are closely held and closely watched and not arbitrarily spent, so I think we just need to work with Carl A. Nelson and clearly articulate what we pay for.?

With a big contract like this, Ellingson said he thought they were moving in the right direction. Some questions were answered and he didn?t think any action was needed by the supervisors on it. They are moving forward with this and the next step probably would be having E-911, Communications and Emergency Management boards to feel comfortable with the building project before presenting the supervisors with a contract.

?I?d really appreciate your input on that when it comes to negotiating out a price and that kind of stuff,? Ellingson added.

He said he?d done research on what construction management firms charge and he?d seen anywhere between 3 and 10 percent.

?So they?re kind of in the ballpark there, but it?s like Jack pointed out if we?re double dipping on some of those things let?s get some of those things that we might be responsible for as extras included in that $15,000,? he added. ?Is that what you were thinking, Jack??

?Yes,? Seward replied.

This was all Ellingson had for the supervisors in regard to the contract. He said when Carl A. Nelson and Company answers the questions Gish had he would email those to everyone and would work on getting the conference call set up and start putting the answers in the contract.