One County Board project to be paid for with ARPA funds advances, but another returns to committee

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Members of the Adams County Board during Tuesday's meetng.

QUINCY — One of the projects to be paid for with money Adams County has received from the American Rescue Plan Act is one step from approval.

Another project, however, ran into a roadblock during Tuesday night’s Adams County Board meeting.

The County Board voted to approve a resolution to upgrade the county’s network and system infrastructure. The upgrades would make the server system Cloud-based, add more laptops and establish an Office 365 network. The cost of the project was bid at $1,396,567. 

The County Board voted earlier in the meeting to create a new checking account to deposit $6.35 million it has received from ARPA. The creation of the new account had to happen before the County Board could vote to spend the money. That vote will be on the agenda for the August meeting.

“We probably could have doubled up that vote (to approve the resolution and to approve spending the money). Without Chairman (Kent) Snider being here, we didn’t,” said Bret Austin, R-1, who chaired the meeting in Snider’s absence. “We took the (ARPA) money into a checking account that’s a commingled account. We got advice from our consultant and the U.S. Treasury that we should not commingle that money. That money needs to be in a separate checking account with a separate checkbook. We had to do that first. Then we can move the money.”

A resolution to adopt the second phase of elevator modernization at the Adams County Courthouse ran into a snag. 

The county hired Bellwether, an Illinois-based operations consulting firm, to ensure it meets all of guidelines and stipulations tied to the $13.3 million it received in ARPA funds. The elevator project has been approved, and a bid of $706,004 from Otis Elevator of Quincy has been received. 

Mike Barnard of Barnard Elevator spoke to the County Board at the beginning of Tuesday’s meeting. He noted a recent elevator project in the courthouse was given to Otis, though his company’s bid was $30,000 lower. Barnard’s attorney filed a lawsuit at the time, and the Adams County Board approved paying Barnard an $8,000 settlement to reimburse him for time he spent preparing the bid.

Barnard asked the County Board to reject Otis’ bid and rebid the second phase of the project.

The Transportation, Building and Technology Committee met before Tuesday’s County Board meeting. Committee chairman Dave Bellis, R-3, said a motion was made in that meeting to accept Otis’ bid. No member seconded the motion. The committee did not forward a recommendation to the full board. Nonetheless, Bellis made a motion for the full County Board to vote on the Otis bid. Les Post, R-6, seconded the motion.

Matt Obert, D-5, amended the motion and asked that the resolution be sent back to the committee to be re-bid. The County Board approved that motion 15-3, with one member abstaining.

Bellis said he preferred the Otis bid because it was the only bid received that proposed using “proprietary equipment” — equipment consistent with other elevators recently renovated in other parts of the courthouse.

He expressed frustration after the meeting. He said the committee must go back to square one on the project after spending three months working on it.

“We’ve got to get the architect back in here, and we’ve got to re-write it, and that’s going to cost us money,” he said. “I don’t know what we can do in this next bid that wasn’t already done in the first one. But you win some, you lose some. If this is what (the County Board) wants to do, we’ll do it.”

Tbe County Board also:

  • Approved spending $458,907 from the county motor fuel tax fund and $150,000 from the county matching tax fund for the county’s share of the cost of resurfacing North 48th Street.
  • Awarded a contract to County Contractors of Qulncy for $339,775 for the removal and replacement of an existing structure with a precast prestressed concrete deck beam bridge, carrying E. 2200th Street over a branch of McCraney Creek i Liberty Township.
  • Approved a resolution for a 2.5 percent cost-of-living increase the salaries of the state’s attorney and public defender.
  • Approved spending up to $6,000 for furniture, fixtures and equipment for the Adams County Sheriff’s Department.
  • Appointed David McCleary to represent District 6 on the Adams County Board. McCleary, a Republican, will replace Seldon Totsch, who had served on the County Board from 1986 until he died on May 22.

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