The Oconee County Board of Commissioners tonight voted to move forward with design work for an extension of Parkway Boulevard, which will run behind Wal-Mart and Lowe’s parallel to Epps Bridge Parkway and open up more land in the area for development.
Oconee County Administrative Officer Jeff Benko told the commissioners that he, County Attorney Daniel Haygood, and county Public Works Director Emil Beshara had reviewed the submitted proposals and their costs.
Benko said the three were confident that Beshara was correct when he recommended that the contract go to ABE Consulting of 2410 Hog Mountain Road, which had submitted the low bid of $96,925, including the costs of geotechnical services.
After initially accepting Beshara’s recommendation, the BOC on Sept. 2 decided to reconsider the bids when Jon Williams of Williams and Associates, 2470 Daniells Bridge Road, raised questions about the decision. Williams had submitted a bid of $98,980, the next lowest bid to that of ABE Consulting.
Roadway For Bishop
The extension of Parkway Boulevard, which now ends at Kohl’s, has been requested by Atlanta developer Frank Bishop, who has told at least some of the commissioners that he holds an option of property to be crossed by the roadway.
The Parkway Boulevard extension would run through to the Oconee Connector opposite one of the entrances to Epps Bridge Centre, which Bishop also developed.
No mention was made tonight of who would pay for the design work for the roadway, but Benko said earlier that the county would either use surplus monies or Special Purpose Local Option Sales Tax revenue for that purpose.
The cost of the actual construction of the road or who would cover that cost also has not been discussed in open meetings.
ABE and Williams
Following the initial decision by the BOC to award the bid to ABE Consulting, which is owned by Abe Abouhamdan, chairman of the county’s Citizen Advisory Committee on Land Use and Transportation Planning, Williams filed an open records request asking for details of the bids and of assessments of the qualifications of ABE Consulting.
After the decision by the Board on Sept. 2 to delay awarding the bid, Abouhamdan filed a pair of open records requests questioning decisions made by the county’s Industrial Development Authority to award a no-bid contract to Williams for the Caterpillar project and Williams’ performance on that project.
Benko tonight made no direct mention of that controversy, saying on that the review had shown that the initial decision had been the correct one.