The Laurens County Council was expected accept bids Tuesday for two of the 16 projects county voters agreed to fund in the 2020 Capital Project Sales Tax referendum.
Once accepted, work can begin on the new evidence facility for the Laurens County Sheriff’s Office as well as a number of projects within an overall improvement project for several county parks.
Vendors were asked for sealed bids to cover the costs of some construction and items needed for refurbishment of each of several county parks. The total submitted for approval was $1,205,602.51 for the parks and another $196,840 for a CPST trails project.
“We placed multiple items up for sealed bids in bulk in (an) attempt to save money,” the explanation of the recreation bids read in the council’s information packet. “This worked well. By ordering these items in bulk, we will save greatly and offset the recent increase in costs.”
Items ordered in bulk included basketball goals, picnic tables and playground equipment.
“It was our intent all along to get it all at one time and save on costs,” said County Council Chairman Brown Patterson.
The bid for construction of the LCSO’s new evidence facility went to JM Cope Construction, based in Rock Hill with offices in Greenville.
JM Cope’s base bid came in at $1,696,615.
The new evidence facility is to be constructed near the current Johnson Detention Center on Templeton Road in Laurens. It will replace the current dilapidated facility that once housed the county jail.
Patterson said he has seen value in all 16 CPST projects, but saw the LCSO’s evidence facility a priority for the county.
“We have a lot of needs in this county, but the condition of that existing evidence facility is in is unacceptable,” he said. “I’m excited to see us moving forward with a new one.”
Overall inflation and a spike in the cost of building materials has led to some consternation as the county dives into the bidding process on all 16 CPST projects.
“It’s nerve wracking with any project we do, especially in today’s climate,” Patterson said.
CPST organizers made conservative estimates on the amount of funds that will be raised and decided to fund about $35 million combined on the projects as opposed to the nearly $50 million initially discussed.
Between June of last year and this past February, the county collected $4.567 million in CPST penny sales tax revenue.
Patterson that number over eight months is exceeding the county’s projections of $4.5-5 million per year. On current pace, the county should collect about $6 million in the first year of the additional 1% sales tax.