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Committee chooses to bid out project rather than accept ESG offer
Jimmy Haley

Warren County commissioners may decide to roll the dice in hopes of obtaining a better price on replacing five HVAC units.

The county Building and Grounds Committee gave initial rejection to a suggestion by County Executive Jimmy Haley to add replacement of five HVAC units at Warren County Memorial Airport onto the scope of work being performed by Energy Savings Group (ESG). Members voiced a desire to go out for bids instead. 

“Every HVAC out there is nearly 40 years old,” said Haley. “One of them has completely failed and another one is not working correctly. We have an option of doing an add-on to the ESG project to include those five HVACs at the airport. We’re going to have to replace them at some point anyway.”

In 2019, the county entered into a contract with ESG for $5.8 million for it to provide improvements on county buildings – the jail, administrative offices, courthouse, health department, and animal control. The scope of work varied by building but included items like HVAC replacements and upgrades to weatherization, lighting, water systems and roofs. 

Warren County Memorial Airport was not included, said Haley, at the request of former airport manager Richard Crawford. 

“Mr. Crawford was not interested in ESG doing a survey of the HVACs. It’s unfortunate that Mr. Crawford did not want that included in the ESG project. I talked to him about it. He said they were working fine. So, we assumed they were working fine and ESG never went out to assess them.”

Presented was an estimate from ESG for $54,000 for five, 5-ton units, installation and thermostats designed to tie the airport’s HVAC system into the county’s so it could also be controlled at a centralized location.

Commissioner Carl E. Bouldin asked if the county could obtain a lower price by bidding the project out instead and not adding it to the county’s contract with ESG.

“This is taxpayers’ money we are talking about,” said Bouldin. “That sounds like a lot of money for five units.”

Commissioner Cole Taylor agreed, “I voted for ESG because I liked the guarantee of savings. Since then, I’ve been a little aggravated with ESG in some areas. That’s in the past, it’s gone, but it remains in the back of my mind. We have a price from them and I say let’s see if we can get somebody to beat it. I think we should have some options.”

Haley said the window for adding onto the ESG project is closing because the project approved in 2019 is nearing an end. 

The agenda stated that Building and Grounds Committee would “discuss” Warren County Memorial Airport HVAC add-on with ESG. Rather than an official vote, members provided a unanimous show of hands in favor of bidding out the project.

The measure will be sent to the county’s finance committees for consideration.