by J. Robert Gough, MRN Publisher
After months of being stalled over lack of funding and then a dispute over bid specifications, the Adams County Board unanimously approved a $700,000 bid from Otis Elevator of Farmington, Connecticut.
Adams County Board Chairman Kent Snider (R-4) called for the special full board meeting following a special meeting of the Transportation, Building and Technology Committee that was held last week. The vote was 16-0 with Theresa Bockhold (R-7), Taylor Rakers (R-4), Todd Duesterhaus (D-1), Steve DeMoss (D-1) and Matt Obert (D-5) being absent.
The modernization of the elevators, some which haven’t been running for two years, is being funded out of the American Rescue Plan Act. Adams County is receiving more than $13 million in COVID-19 relief funds and the company hired a consultant to ensure any of the money that was spend would fall within federal guidelines.
Rebecca Weed (R-2) asked why the elevators hadn’t been running for so long, to which Snider replied the County “didn’t have the money.”
The special meeting was needed because at the regular County Board meeting on July 14, a motion to accept the bid died for lack of a second. Transportation, Building and Technology Committee Chairman Dave Bellis (R-3) moved the bid to the full board without committee support and the board kicked it back to the committee to review. Bellis apologized to his committee for taking that action at the special committee meeting and did so again at the special board meeting.
Mike Barnard of Barnard Elevator of Quincy made yet another plea to the board, saying the County had “rigged” the bid by making the specifics so his company could not bid and he asked why the County Board wasn’t giving better treatment to a “local” company.
Bellis disputed Barnard’s claim and said he could’ve bid on the project had he wanted to. The Adams County State’s Attorney’s office says the County cannot give preference on a bid because of a company’s location.
Otis Elevator representatives claimed they are also a local company since they have an office in Quincy, but representatives at Tuesday night’s County Board meeting were from the Peoria area. They also claimed it would be unfair practice if the project was re-bid because then their proprietary information and pricing would’ve been made public.