County delays opening salt barn bids

Aug. 23—The Daviess County Commissioners have delayed opening bids for a proposed new salt barn for the county highway department. The bids had been scheduled to be opened Tuesday morning but one bid did not make it on time because of an address problem.

The county delayed the opening until Friday to allow all bids to be submitted.

"Someone had the wrong email address so their bid documents never came through," said President of the Daviess County Commissioners Nathan Gabhart. "We knew another bid was coming and we reached out and found there had been a problem. We decided to extend the deadline as a courtesy to that company."

Another company did have a bid delivered by mail in front of the deadline. That bid was left unopened and remains under consideration.

"We wanted to get as many bids as possible," said Gabhart. "If we opened the one we had and it was too high or not acceptable we would have had to reject it and start from scratch."

The salt barn proposal is one the county highway department has discussed for many years. The idea is to build a new barn at the current highway department offices between Washington and Montgomery, replacing the old building on Washington's west side that officials call undersized and inefficient. Projections for the new facility are that it will cost around $1 million.

"I'm confident that if the bids come in within budget, we will build this facility," said Gabhart. "I am also confident that if the bid is acceptable that we will start as soon as possible."

The commissioners also formally deeded slightly more than 50 acres of land to the Daviess County Airport. The county has been trying to get out of holding land. They still have around four acres of land and a large septic system in that area.

"It is the philosophy that we don't need to be holding land and if we have some, we need to sell it to someone who can use it better," said Gabhart, who says the county is reluctant to turn loose the septic field. "We want to be certain that if something goes wrong with it someone will be able to maintain it, and if the airport expands and needs to tap into it we want to be there to make it available."

The commissioners discussed the upcoming courthouse construction project. Bid documents are expected to go out shortly after Labor Day. Contracts will be awarded before November and then offices will begin to move. The county is considering building an extra storage building on property just north of the annex.

"We have been talking for a while about a storage facility," said Gabhart. "We have storage in the courthouse and the basement of the annex that doesn't go anywhere unless you move. We need to find a long-term storage solution so we don't take up space in these expensive buildings. Just like any other major project you often have some smaller projects going on at the same time."

In other business the commissioners heard a report from Daviess County Highway Supervisor Chris Winkler on the Montgomery bridge project. He said that work is starting on forming the sidewalks and that the bridge deck will be poured soon.

The commissioner approved a downsized COVID policy. The policy has gone from two-pages long to two-paragraphs.

They approved a request to allow RSVP to conduct a community health fair on the county's parking lot.

County treasurer Jamie Chapman received clearance from the commissioners to begin the county's part of the annual United Way campaign.

The commissioners will submit a grant application for the expansion of broadband.

An agreement with the Economic Development Administration and the county over the tax abatements tied to the Westgate micro-processing chip plant was approved.

And the commissioners directed the area plan commission to begin the search for a new member to replace one who has resigned.