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Halifax County Supes tap first choice for courthouse work

SoVaNow.com / May 23, 2013
The Halifax County Board of Supervisors on Monday authorized County Administrator Jim Halasz to begin negotiations with CJMW Architecture of Lynchburg for the renovation of the Halifax County Courthouse.

Following a closed session at a specially called meeting, the Board listed CJMW as its top choice for professional architectural, engineering and planning services for the renovation of the historic but dilapidated Courthouse. Among those submitting bids, the second choice was Moseley Architects with Wiley/Wilson ranking third.

Jimmy Epps of B&B Consultants, who was present at the Monday meeting, said his firm is working with CJMW on the civil engineering and surveying side of the Courthouse renovation.

The Board resolution calls for Halasz to terminate negotiations with the top choice if he determines that a satisfactory contract cannot be negotiated at a fair and reasonable price, and then start negotiating with the second choice.

Halasz had asked supervisors to convene the special meeting in order for him to complete negotiations with the responding firms, allowing him to have a completed contract in hand to present to Board members at their regular June 3 meeting. This is the date that a court order requires for a contract to be finalized for the start of courthouse renovations.

In other business Monday night, Jay Camp, Finance Director for the Halifax County Schools, appeared before the supervisors to seek a moral obligation pledge from them for the School Board’s planned lease-purchase agreement for nine new school buses.

Camp explained that Suntrust Bank is requiring the pledge from the county to repay the $785,027.50 debt if the School Board fails to make the payments. He said the arrangement offered highly favorable pricing for the nine new 2012 buses, with savings of some $10,000 per bus.

Camp assured supervisors that the School Board has budgeted $160,000 annually to pay for the buses and added that in just this past year, trustees have paid off a loan-purchase agreement for the 2008 purchase of new buses. He said the new School Board loan-purchase agreement spans a seven year period. No interest rate had been provided yet, Camp said, but he said Suntrust had earlier approved a loan for vehicles for special education students at a rate of 1.71 percent.

“This one,” he said, “should be lower since they have the county’s pledge on it.”

Supervisors unanimously approved the moral obligation pledge for the purchase of new buses. School trustees have called a special meeting for this Friday at 4 p.m. to approve the purchase.

In other business, ED#8 Supervisor Bryant Claiborne moved to appropriate $3,292 for the Old Dominion Resource Conservation & Development (RC&D) council, with the money to come from the general fund. Claiborne’s motion passed unanimously.

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