Contract awarded for Ellis County Sub Courthouse in Ennis

In a special meeting on Tuesday, July 7, Ellis County Commissioners voted unanimously to award the contract for construction of the Ellis County Sub Courthouse in Ennis to Prime Construction Company of Arlington with a price of $1,426,055.

A committee headed by County Engineer Joe White and Jon Vidaurri of Jones Lang Lasalle utilized a point-based bidding system outlined in the Local Government Code. Under the system, 15 points are awarded based on the firm’s experience, 20 points on financial data submitted, 15 points on experience and reputation of the proposed staff, 40 points on the cost or price quoted, five points on responsiveness to the bid package, and five points on the proposed sub-contracting team.

Eleven bids were received in March but were all higher than the estimated cost of the project. The Court voted to reject all bids, with White, Vidaurri and Architect Larry Irsik going back to the drawing board.

“Larry is very good at that kind of thing,” White said, noting that a change in the building’s footprint reduced square footage by 470 feet and lowered or eliminated several other associated costs. “We think we’ve utilized the space very well.”

The Court also voted to extend an offer of a salary of $64,000 to retain an assistant engineer to work under White’s direction.

“Joe, will you promise you will relinquish some of your responsibilities and give them to this gentleman?” asked Commissioner Ron Brown, pct. 4.

White laughingly responded that he would not promise but was sure that his wife would be happy to do so.

“I am encouraged by the fact that his level of experience allows him to hit the ground running should he accept our offer,” said County Judge Carol Bush.

The individual in question was not named during the meeting in order to avoid compromising his current employment, particularly in the event he does not accept the County’s offer. According to White, all references were more than positive. The candidate has a number of years of city experience as well as several years with a consulting firm, and will soon be awarded his Professional Engineer’s license.

A third item on the agenda allowed for presentation of proposed budget requests by any department not available for the workshop held on June 29 and 30. No departments approached and no action was taken. A member of the public, Kevin Crouch of the Young Conservatives organization, encouraged the Court to consider the taxpayer in every decision that is made.