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Officials working to trim emergency operations center plans

By DAVID TEWES
Dec. 6, 2010 at 6:06 a.m.
Updated Dec. 7, 2010 at 6:07 a.m.


BID AWARDThe commissioners court is scheduled to consider awarding a bid for the emergency operations center Monday.

The court meets at 10 a.m. Mondays at 115 N. Bridge Street.

Bids for a new emergency operations center came in higher than expected, sending county officials scurrying to find ways to stay within the budget.

"I was a little bit surprised," said Joyce Dean, the county's director of Administrative Services. "Of course, there was a wide range from low bidder to high bidder."

Dean and Jeb Lacey, the emergency management coordinator, said they are confident the county will be able to come up with a plan to build the new center next year. But they said the plan may need to be modified.

"We want to make sure all of our operational needs are met," Lacey said. "That's our highest priority."

Base bids from six contractors ranged from a low of $1.474 million submitted by A&A Constructors Inc. of Victoria to a high of $2.187 million submitted by Clegg Services Inc., of Victoria.

The county was hoping to pay for the new center with $1.455 million in grants, plus about $200,000 from the county and city. The grants would be $1 million from the U.S. Department of Homeland Security and $455,000 from the Coastal Impact Assistance Program.

"We obviously do not have the required funding to do everything right now," County Judge Don Pozzi said.

Dean said she is talking with the contractors to see what can be done to bring their prices more in line with what the county anticipated. She also said the county will have to consider delaying some improvements.

That could include such things as a power generator and finishing out some of the offices, a break room, storage and a phone bank. The county could bring in a portable generator for power backup if electricity is lost.

"It's going to be a bare basic, minimally functional facility at this point." Dean said. "We will add to it as we can, if we can."

But it will still be a facility that can adequately serve the community in a disaster, Lacey said.

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