Saturday, September 27, 2014

Parkway Boulevard Extension Back On Oconee County Board Of Commissioners Agenda On Tuesday Night

No Sign Of Action

The contract for design of the extension of Parkway Boulevard is back on the agenda for the Oconee County Board of Commissioners on Tuesday night, but this time there is no indication that the county is prepared to award the contract.

The BOC tentatively agreed at its meeting on Aug. 26 to accept the low bid of $96,925 submitted by ABE Consulting of 2410 Hog Mountain Road but reversed course a week later–on Sept. 2-- and decided to review the five submitted bids another time.

On Aug. 27, Jon Williams of Williams and Associates, 2470 Daniells Bridge Road, filed an open records request with the county asking to see the scoring sheets for all five submitted bids as well as all accompanying materials. Williams had submitted the next lowest bid of $98,980.

On Sept. 4, Abe Abouhamdan, owner of ABE Consulting, filed two open records requests with the county asking for details of consulting contracts of the Oconee County Industrial Development Authority involving the Caterpillar site work and for costs incurred by the county repairing a road at that site.

ABE Office On
Hog Mountain Road

Williams and Associates had an $870,000 no-bid contract with the IDA for the Caterpillar site work, including for design work on Orkin Drive. That roadway had to be reconstructed because borings taken during construction missed a deep waste pit beneath the future road.

The contract for professional design services for the Parkway Boulevard Extension does not appear on the tentative agenda for the BOC’s Oct. 7 meeting, suggesting that the county may be considering rebidding the project for what would be a third time.

Parkway Boulevard Extension

With no advance public discussion, the BOC took up the extension of Parkway Boulevard from its dead end at Kohl’s to the Oconee Connector opposite one of the existing entrances of Epps Bridge Centre at its meeting on Aug. 26.

The bidding for the project, which ended on Aug. 7, had not been discussed in an open BOC meeting, nor had an earlier round of bidding in February.

The roadway would open up land behind Wal-Mart and Lowe’s for commercial development and is being considered at the request of Atlanta developer Frank Bishop, who also developed Epps Bridge Centre.

At this point, the county plans to pay for the design work for the roadway, but who would pay for the actual construction of the road remains unclear.

Williams Request

In his open records request, Williams asked to see the fee schedule and cost proposal for all submitted bids.

He also asked to see the prequalification verification by the Georgia Department of Transportation (GDOT) for all of the consultants who submitted bids.

Project Sign On
Virgil Langford Road

He asked for descriptions of the firms, statements of their general capabilities, and their recent experience, particularly with GDOT.

BOC Chairman Melvin Davis asked the BOC to remove the discussion of the bids from the Sept. 2 agenda “to check a couple of things on the contracts.” County Administrative Officer Jeff Benko said the next day that County Attorney Daniel Haygood was reviewing the bids.

The BOC had accepted the ABE Consulting bid on Aug. 26 and put it on its consent agenda for formal approval at that Sept. 2 meeting.

I had file an open records request to review all open records requests filed with the county from Aug. 1 through Sept. 22.

Abouhamdan Request

In his open records request, Abouhamdan focused on the work on the Caterpillar project, asking for all change orders, which are made when project costs need to be adjusted, as well as all fee documents.

He also asked for all “Geo-technical Subsurface Exploration Reports including boring logs and Geo-technical recommendations and summaries.”

The request asks for all payments made by the IDA to “engineering and surveying consultant” as well as to County Attorney Daniel Haygood. Haygood represents the IDA in his capacity as county attorney and had responsibility for the contract with Williams.

Abouhamdan is the chairman of the county’s Citizen Advisory Committee for Land Use and Transportation Planning and has done design work for the county on a number of projects, including on the widening of Daniells Bridge Road in front of the complex where Williams has his office.

Williams also has done a variety of projects for the county.

The other bidders for the design work on the Parkway Boulevard extension had considerably higher bids for the work.

Full Agenda

The agenda for the Tuesday night meeting contains a variety of items, including interviews with applicants for a number of citizen committees.

Five people have applied for four positions on the Industrial Development Authority. Included are the three incumbents Larry Benson, Matt Elder and Ed Perkins.

John Caudill, 1300 S. Rossiter Terrace, outside Watkinsville, and M. Robin Chasman, 1011 Brookview Court, off Tanglebrook Drive, are new applicants.

The IDA earlier this month accepted the resignation of IDA member John Morrison, who, according to court records, actually moved out of the county in early March.

The BOC meeting starts at 7 p.m. in the courthouse in Watkinsville.


Anonymous said...

Three takeaways:
1)Abe Abouhamdan should not be doing any business with the county while he is the chairman of the county’s Citizen Advisory Committee for Land Use and Transportation Planning.

2) Jon Williams should not b getting almost a million from the county for a no-bid contract. There should never be any no bids contracts!

3) Melvin Davis is losing control. There's enough here to warrant a stat or federal investigation. Cleary, there are many behind closed doors dealing right now, and when you add all of the messes with properties involving Jamie Boswell...

When will the other four commissioners step up and put a stop to the machinations of Melvin, his ego, and his cronies??!!!

Beanne said...

You are absolutely correct Anonymous. But we are losing one commissioner, Margaret Hale, who had the courage to ask questions. Most Oconee county citizens don't know about these things as our local paper does not report them. If we did not have this blog, I would be in the dark also. Thank you, Lee.

Xardox said...

Asking questions takes a bit of fortitude, but courage means doing something.