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Lack of bids delays command center project

By DAVID TEWES
Dec. 20, 2010 at 6:20 a.m.


COMING UPMonday's session was the last commissioners court meeting for 2010.

The next session will be 10 a.m. Jan. 1 in the upstairs courtroom of the 1894 courthouse.

That's when the incumbents and candidates elected to office this year will be sworn in.

Plans to build a high-tech mobile command center capable of coordinating response to the worst of disasters in the Crossroads will be delayed at least a month.

The Victoria County Commissioners Court received no bids for the sheriff's office project by the deadline Monday.

"I received a message just a minute ago that one of the bidders contacted the judge's office and said they had forgotten," Sheriff T. Michael O'Connor said after the meeting. "That's no way to do business."

County Judge Don Pozzi and O'Connor said the county will have to seek bids again for the project, causing the one-month delay.

"This is a significant grant and a significant project," O'Connor said. "I would think in this day and age, unless they've got bigger projects, they would stay on top of it."

O'Connor has estimated it will cost about $550,000 to build the mobile command center, which will consist of a 53-foot tractor-trailer rig with two meeting rooms, a galley, restrooms and communications.

O'Connor said that's about half the cost of ordering one built from scratch by a dealer. He said they were able to keep the cost down by buying surplus military equipment and using various grants.

The sheriff said he has only until late spring to use the grant money. He also said the plan is to have the project completed 60 days before hurricane seasons begins June 1.

That will give his office time to deal with any problems that come up and to train staff how to use the equipment before a critical incident arises.

O'Connor said he thinks there will still be enough time to do that if there are no more delays. "The project isn't so extensive they can't meet the deadline."

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