County Stays Tight On Costs

SNOW HILL – County elected officials will wait to choose a construction company for an eagerly anticipated trash transfer station in Bishopville until after the fiscal year 2010 (FY10) budget is struck in early June, saying that now might not be the time to build.

The lowest bidder proposed a $415,000 price tag to build the Bishopville transfer station. The county would also have to spend another $100,000 for compactors and roll-off containers for the station.

Funding for the new transfer station would be drawn from the Solid Waste Enterprise Fund, not Worcester County’s general fund.

“Now, with the financial implications, I think the commissioners need to look hard and decide if it’s the right time,” said Public Works Director John Tustin on Tuesday.

“I agree we not vote on the bid price today because I am concerned about our budget and if it’s feasible to fund this at this time,” said Commissioner Linda Busick, who represents the Bishopville area.

The commissioners decided by consensus to wait on bid awards. Tustin said he would speak to bidders and ask if they will hold their bids at the same price beyond the original deadline.

Busick suggested adding recycling containers used at Bishopville Park to the site intended for the new transfer station before construction.

“The residents of Bishopville have been eagerly awaiting this recycling center,” Busick said.

Concerns over the budget have become so strong that Busick asked Tustin to explore whether some of the work items, such as planting of shrubs and trees, could be dealt with in house. She also wondered whether the site needed nine light poles, costing $1,800 each, if the station were only open during the day.

The lights are for overnight security, said Tustin, but could be installed in house when the work is done.

“I think we could use some cost-saving measures and even scale back the project,” said Busick.

Tustin also pointed out that the lowest bidder, A. P. Croll and Son, is a Delaware-based company, which uses many Delaware-based contractors. The commissioners have expressed an interest in steering work to Worcester County-based contractors. The lowest bid from a county company was $481,000 from Hegarty and Associates of Berlin.

“I would like to see jobs going to our Worcester County people,” said Commissioner Judy Boggs.

“Not at a cost of $66,000,” said Commission President Louise Gulyas.

The transfer station has only been postponed, not eliminated.

“There’s very little done in the northern district. This is one of those things I want to see carried out,” said Busick.

At Tuesday’s meeting, the commissioners also questioned $5,500 for the Board of Elections director and deputy director to travel to San Diego to attend a class required for certification.

The training is only available in San Diego, said Elections Director Patty Jackson. Most of the funding would come from money budgeted but unused in the current budget.

“I have a real problem simply because we voted to not have any out-of-state travel,” said Gulyas.

While the state requires certification, it is not clear whether both Jackson and her deputy must be certified or whether one person only needs the credential.

The commissioners voted 5-2 to approve the travel request, with Gulyas and Boggs against it.