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September 12, 2013

Clark County Council districts redrawn, again

Commissioners vote 2-1 to ‘compact’ districts; Perkins calls action ‘purely political’



The deeper workers dig into the Silver Creek bridge, the more expensive it gets.

Work on the Silver Creek bridge, which connects Spring Street in New Albany to Brown Station Way in Clark County, was originally awarded to Gohmann Construction with a bid of $147,215. The commissioners have already approved a change order that puts the price around $217,000, but it turns out they may need to pay even more.

County Attorney Brian Dixon told the commissioners that as Gohmann workers re-sounded the bridge after the top layer of asphalt had been milled off, they discovered more problem areas in the second layer.

The cost for the two outside lanes of the bridge, using the latex overlay approved in the original bid package, will now cost $280,240 to complete if pursued, Dixon told the commissioners. By using a modified asphalt material, the bridge could be resurfaced completely for about $261,000, he said.

The commissioners declined to act, instead opting to table the decision and recess the meeting until Monday at 11:30 a.m. The commissioners expressed concern over the possibility of litigation because of changes to the scope of the project as originally bid out and the increase in cost.


Perkins, reading from a prepared statement, criticized the commissioners’ decision to transfer $800,000 from the cumulative bridge fund to the rainy day fund to pay for insurance bills, and pointed to the rising cost of the Silver Creek bridge work as evidence that there should have been a reserve for bridge emergencies retained.

“One week to the day of the reversal of the commissioners’ position not to support the county council’s general fund obligations, the commissioners were informed that the longest bridge in Clark County was in much worse condition than had been indicated,” Perkins said. “The initial bid of $147,000 has at least doubled and perhaps more. This fix would at best be temporary and might last approximately five to 10 years.”

Perkins defended the decision of the commissioners to increase the rate of the cumulative bridge fund in 2012, and noted that the fund’s rate had been reduced when the county council implemented a wheel tax, but the commissioners hadn’t restored the bridge fund to its previous rate when the wheel tax was repealed.

“If a previous council had not voluntarily reduced the levy [in 2007], the current county council would have $1.5 million more this year and in subsequent years available for the general fund,” Perkins said. Perkins said that number was provided to him by accountant Jill Oca and financial advisor Dan Eggermann, who works for the county on a contract basis.


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