Ector County Commissioners were in agreement today that county equipment needs proper storage but said paying more than half a million dollars for metal shed covers was not worth going over budget.
The Ector County Highways and Streets Department is going back to the drawing board after county commissioners rejected their budget amendment request and will reevaluate the scope of their project and where costs can be cut.
The department’s director, Evans Kessey, said about $330,000 was budgeted for the metal shed covers spanning 41,000 square feet. The storage additions would include four metal sheds that are about 200 feet long by 16 feet wide.
The highways and streets department also planned to have about a dozen bays available for cross-departmental use.
Kessey said providing a space for other county departments to store surplus equipment would help preserve the value of county investments and limit further deterioration of equipment prior to auction dates.
He submitted a request for an additional $221,775 after bids the county received exceeded estimates that were given last year.
“I don’t know what happened in the market,” Kessey said, but suggested the cost of materials was an influencing factor.
Ector County Purchasing Agent Kenneth Lind said the lowest bid came in at about $569,000, a standard rate given the amount of square footage.
County officials mulled over the topic during the meeting and came to the conclusion that the bid price would not likely go down, but the amount of square footage in the project could be reduced to stay within budget.
“Let’s eat this thing in bites,” Precinct 1 Commissioner Eddy Shelton said.
Shelton pitched the idea of covering the most weather-sensitive equipment the highways and streets department owns first and then building more sheds down the line. Ector County Judge Debi Hays said tarps could be a temporary solution.
Kessey said the county needs to be proactive in protecting equipment and assets from inclement weather because the lack of storage is impacting the completion of departmental tasks.
Sensitive road maintenance equipment like the county’s sole chip spreader is used for pavement surface treatment, but it has been damaged due to improper storage.
“We don’t keep up with activities because some of the equipment is not operating the way it should operate,” Kessey said, “and “that impacts the public and community.”
Kessey said only eight or nine miles of seal coat have been completed this year because of a shortage of employees and a lack of available equipment.
He said equipment is continually exposed to the same environment after it is repaired or replaced, which is wasting resources and lowering the productivity of his staff members.
Commissioners voiced at the meeting that the priority was staying in budget and encouraged Kessey to return to the Commissioners’ Court with a scaled down version of the project.
IN OTHER BUSINESS, COMMISSIONERS:
- Approved allowing Downtown Odessa, Inc. to utilize the Courthouse/Health Department parking lot beginning at 5 p.m. on July 3 through July 4 for the 24th Firecracker Fandango.
- Reappointed Ladoyce Lambert to the Permian Basin Community Centers Board of Trustees for an additional two-year term beginning June 26, 2019 to June 25, 2021.
- Approved terminating the Flexible Benefits Plan Document and Summary Plan description of the Cafeteria Plan being administered by American Fidelity Assurance Company on behalf of Ector County in compliance with IRS Code Section 125, effective July 31, 2019.
- Approved terminating the Subscription Agreement between Ector County and American Fidelity Assurance Company, effective July 31, 2019.
- Approved terminating a Trust Subscription Agreement and Application for Medical Expense Reimbursement Coverage between Ector County and American Fidelity Assurance Company, effective December 31, 2019.
- Approved Motorola Change Order to revise the payment schedule based on the phased implementation approach and adjust the project completion date.
- Approved MHRC Plans for Rodriguez Lot 35, Block 1, Sterling Park third Filing Precinct 4, Ector County, Texas.
- Approved MHRC for Joselyn RV Park at 15421 S. Mares Street, Odessa, Texas, 79766, Ector County, Texas.
- Approved Gallegos West Replat of Lots 3, 4 and 5, Block 42, T-3-S T&P RY, Co. Survey Ector County, Texas.
- Approved a line item transfer to FMLR Fund, Road Maintenance, Contract Services, 002-810-5309 for $13,000 from Road Maintenance, Equipment Rental, 002-810- 5391 for $5,000 and from Road Maintenance, Road Maintenance, 002-810-5241 for $8,000.
- Approved a line item transfer to General Fund, Auditor, Office Supplies, 001- 260-5171 for $3,000 from Auditor, Telephone,001-260-5351 for $1,000 and from Auditor, Educational Travel, 001-260-5161 for $2,000.
- Approved a line item transfer to Equipment Services Fund, Departmental Furniture and Equipment, 051-770-5199, in the amount of $4,408 from equipment Services Fund, Subscriptions, 051-770-5207 in the amount of $3,000 and from Underground Storage Tank Maintenance, 051-770-5254 in the amount of $1,408 for a total of $4,408.
- Approved a line item transfer to FMLR Fund, Departmental Furniture and Equipment, 002-810-5199, in the amount of $1,410 from FMLR Fund, Shop Supplies, 002- 810-5191 in the amount of $922 and from Small Tool Supplies, 002-810-5190 in the amount of $488 for a total of $1,410.
- Approved a budget amendment to Capital Improvements Fund, Improvements and Construction, 044-990-5509 and to Capital Improvements Fund, Insurance Proceeds, 044-4172 for $70,000.
- Approved the Accounts Payable Fund Requirements Report for June 25, 2019.