County hits the brakes on rough guess maximum

JAIL BOND

Hays County is once again delaying a decision on the guaranteed maximum price for construction work to be done at the Hays County Jail.

Turner Construction, the construction manager at risk for the project, had presented a guaranteed maximum price (GMP) proposal at last week’s Hays County Commissioners Court meeting. However, the GMP was $7.1 million greater than the approved construction cost limitation for the project. The construction work, which is part of a voter-approved bond project, includes expanding the current jail, and the construction of a training building and a public safety building.

“I don’t believe it was anybody’s intent to go over the amount the voters approved,” Precinct 1 Commissioner Debbie Gonzales Ingalsbe said at the commissioners’ Tuesday meeting.

The county’s attorney, Mark Kennedy, laid out the court’s options for handling the GMP proposal: accept it, declare it unacceptable and call for competitive sealed bids from other firms, or reopen negotiations with Turner to find a way to bring the GMP down.

“If the court finds the GMP proposal unacceptable, then Turner is contract-bound to leave the GMP proposal on the table for 90 days,” Kennedy said. “The court, during that 90-day period, can see what the market has to say.”

Kennedy told the commissioners that the work Turner is already doing – construction of a fleet maintenance building – would be unaffected, since the GMP proposal is for the second phase of the project. He also said that declaring the GMP proposal unacceptable does not necessarily end the county’s relationship with Turner.

After a discussion of the details and of what the county’s priorities should be with the construction project, the commissioners decided to give county staff time to work with Turner and reopen negotiations to try to bring the price down.

“I think as long as the contract reopener is going well, we would bring that back in two weeks,” Kennedy said.

In other business, the commissioners unanimously voted to appoint Ingalsbe and Commissioner Lon Shell to the Combined Emergency Communications Center Executive Board.

San Marcos Daily Record

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