By allowing ads to appear on this site, you support the local businesses who, in turn, support great journalism.
Work on old Bulloch Memorial Hospital put on hold
Bulloch memorial
Bulloch Memorial Hospital - photo by Herald File
Bulloch County Commissioners rejected bids received for performing work to transform the remains of the old Bulloch Memorial Hospital into a public service facility because even the lowest bid far exceeded the county's budget.
    However, Brad Williams, with Dabbs-Williams General Contractors, who offered the low bid, offered a solution.
    He said his company could demolish  the currently existing building and rebuild within the county's budget.
    Commissioners reviewed the budgets submitted, and Dabbs-Williams General Contractors bid $4.755 million, which "exceeded the architect's budget by 60 percent," said Bulloch County Manager Tom Couch.
    "We really don't have the existing funds available, and I don't think we can wait the two and a half years for SPLOST (Special Purpose Local Option Sales Tax) funds to come in" to handle the proposed project," he said.
    Williams spoke to commissioners and said he thought "bad budgeting" was the reason the bids were so far above expectations. He suggested the county enter into a "construction management contract"  to tear the old building down, "removing an eyesore ... and design a new facility" to fit the budgeted amount.
    However, county staff attorney Jeff Akins said he needed additional time to research the legality of using the SPLOST money set aside for renovating the existing building in a project that would not renovate, but tear down and build a new facility.
    Couch said the county's budget for the project is "between $2.9 and $3.2 million."
    Commissioners voted to table the issue until the next commissioners' meeting Feb. 1.
@Subhead:Other business
@Bodycopy:    Bulloch County Public Safety Director Ted Wynn spoke to commissioners about a bid from National Fire Services in Sylvania, who submitted the only bid for an ISO reduction study for the county. The bid was $26,000, he said.
    Wynn said the company came highly recommended and that the study to be done would help the county take steps to reduce the ISO ( Insurance Services Organization ) rating. Most of the county has an ISO rating of 9, with some areas having an ISO of 10, he said.
    The lower the ISO rating, the better insurance rates citizens receive, he said.
    "We believe we will be able to lower an ISO significantly for citizens," he said.
    "So, it would be a great thing for our tax payers, for or citizens," said Bulloch County Commission Chairman Garrett Nevil.
    Commissioner Jan Tankersley said water availability, equipment training and 911 availability will help lower the ISO rating as well.
    Wynn agreed. "When t hey come to test us, we will be able to show them we can deliver water (by teamwork from county firefighting divisions working together transporting water by tankers)," he said.
    He also said the county has had an offer of land donation for an additional fire station in the Clito area.
    There is a need for EMS stations throughout the county as well, said Donald Stafford as he addressed the commissioners during the public comments session of the meeting.
    Stafford related how it took an ambulance 30 minutes to reach his home on Pleasant Hill Church road near the Ellabell community. His wife was having chest pains, and he said "If she was having a heart attack, she'd have been dead by then." Fortunately his wife had not been experiencing a heart attack and was transported to the hospital for treatment when EMS did arrive, he said.
    He asked commissioners to consider adding EMS substations in the Stilson area.
    Couch said there are plans for the next SPLOST referendum to locate EMS stations in Southeast Bulloch County, but  currently the funds are going towards the Bulloch County Jail expansion project. It will be 2009 before the EMS substations are built, he said.
    Stafford told commissioners he knew a man who was considering moving to Bulloch County's southeastern corner until he learned how long it took an ambulance to arrive to the area.
    "The good news, it's in the pipeline," Couch said. "The bad news is, it is a couple of years away."
    "If that's the best you can do, it's the best you can do," Stafford said, adding that he felt the EMS substations should take precedence over the jail expansion.
    Work on the Bulloch County Jail expansion is already underway. The project was determined to be priority in 2005 when the current jail was found to be overpopulated and the county is paying to house inmates elsewhere.
    The proposed jail expansion will allow room for other law enforcement agencies to pay Bulloch County to house inmates as well as accommodate its own inmates, Couch has said.
    Bulloch County Sheriff Lynn Anderson has said one agency has already asked to reserve space in the new jail.
Sign up for the Herald's free e-newsletter