The commissioners initially requested a seven-year, $50,000 bond to cut and bore county roads as part of the City of Brazil Water System Improvement Projects during April's regular meeting. Included in the specification is work to be done on three separate portions of White Rock Road, the intersection of County Road 950 North (Central Avenue) and CR 200 W, CR 150 W (south of White Rock Road), CR 1000 N and CR 450 N (Frontage Road).
However, Hannum, Wagle and Cline Engineering Engineer Matthew Pierce (Indianapolis Office) said Thursday the bonding agency would not provide a seven-year bond for B & T Drainage and Excavating, Marshall, Ill., which is the contractor slated to perform work on the city's water distribution system.
"The bonding agency (Smith Manus Surety Bonds, Louisville, Ky.) provided a separate proposal for a three-year bond, with the option for a three-year extension," Pierce said.
Pierce explained to The Brazil Times that while the contractor would not be able to opt out of the bond, the bonding agency could decline the extension if the contractor is not in good financial standing.
Learning the potential circumstances the county could find itself instilled some concerns with the commissioners.
Commissioners' President Charlie Brown said the typical road maintenance bond agreement is for five years, adding it was not his, or the commissioners, intent to delay any portion of the projects.
"In the past few years, we have developed a good working relationship with the city, and while I don't want to do anything to damage that, we still have to look into what is best for the county," Brown said. "We need to come up with some sort of compromise in order to get this done today."
Commissioner Paul Sinders added, "We don't want to be in a situation where we could potentially get burned because they are our roads, our responsibility."
Pierce informed the commissioners the cuts and bores would be on county-owned rights of way and easements which have already been signed off on.
"There will be no work done on private property in which we have not already received easements," he said.
After discussing multiple options, including contacting Brazil City Attorney Bob Pell in the consideration of the city possibly picking up two years' worth of bonds if the extension were not granted, the commissioners agreed to take a recess to allow Pierce time to contact the contractor and bonding agency about if a five-year bond would be allowable.
When the meeting reconvened, Pierce informed the commissioners all parties were agreeable with a five-year bond, with the condition that the American Institute of Architects standard bond form is used.
Pell added it would be wise for the commissioners to receive the bond before any work is done.
"I would insist that the county not allow permits to cut and bore until the bond is presented, just as an added way of protection," Pell said.
Sinders agreed and made a motion to accept a five-year maintenance bond for $50,000 with the following conditions:
* The bond must be presented to the commissioners,
* The contractor may not begin work until the bond is presented with the revised application to cut and bore county roads, and
* Brown has authorization to sign any legal documents on behalf of the commissioners regarding the permit and bond.
Brown seconded the motion, which was unanimously approved.
Pierce added it should take a few days to obtain the bond and revise the application, meaning work on this portion of the projects, which is slated to begin next week, would not be delayed.
The next regular meeting of the Clay County Commissioners will be 9 a.m., Tuesday, Sept. 7, in the Commissioners' Courtroom at the Clay County Courthouse. The courthouse will be closed Monday, Sept. 6, due to the Labor Day Holiday.