Commissioners refuse to pay for additional mobilization

Progress on wetlands and streambank mitigation on the Brumbley Creek site, which was purchased from Jim Tenewitz, as part of the Tired Creek Lake project is moving forward despite the weather, Grady County commissioners learned this week.
However, the contractor on the project is seeking reimbursement for additional mobilization costs due to access issues to the work site.
Grady County consultant Kent Campbell of EcoSouth appeared before the county commission Tuesday night to recommend the county pay Cal-Mart, Inc., an additional $10,000 to cover the costs related to a road the contractor had to build to access the construction site.
According to Campbell, the overly wet conditions have forced Cal Lauder of Cal-Mart, Inc., to purchase approximately $22,000 in rock to make the road suitable for his heavy equipment to move through the mitigation site.
Campbell admitted he did not include a haul road in his plans. He told county commissioners the county would benefit from the road Lauder has built by saving on the additional cost to move brush material from the entrance of the site back into the site as work progresses.
The county’s consultant also said the road would be used for future maintenance of the site as well as monitoring.
“This is the wettest part of the year and by April it will begin drying out,” Commissioner Charles Norton said.
County Commissioner Elwyn Childs asked Campbell why the county could not delay work until the site dried out. “What’s the rush?” Childs asked.
“You don’t want to run the risk of falling behind schedule,” Campbell said. The consultant also reminded commissioners that all mitigation work must be completed before the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers would allow the impoundment of water at Tired Creek Lake.
“If you don’t approve the $10,000 more than likely the contractor will move down to Herring/Harrison mitigation site and begin work there,” Campbell said.
Commissioner Norton predicted the conditions at the third site would be just as wet as at the Brumbley Creek site.
“There is a lot that has to be done in the lake bottom before we start filling it anyway so we’ve got time,” Commissioner Norton said.
Campbell noted that the contract with Cal-Mart, Inc., is through the end of the year.
“If we have good conditions how long would it take to finish at Brumbley Creek?” Norton asked.
Campbell estimated about two months.
The board took no action to pay the contractor for his additional mobilization costs and Commissioner Norton suggested Cal-Mart crews wait for drier conditions to proceed.
“Cal knew what the job was and he even walked the site. I guess we all make mistakes, but he knew what the job entailed when he bid. We’ve got to save money everywhere we can because we need it somewhere else. He knew the conditions down there,” Commissioner Norton said.
In related action Tuesday night, the board accepted the recommendation of Campbell to pay Cal-Mart, Inc., $10,000 for the removal and eradication of invasive Chinese privet on approximately 30 acres at the Brumbley Creek mitigation site.
According to Campbell the removal and eradication of the privet throughout the seven year monitoring and maintenance period is required as part of the federal 404 permit authorizing the construction of the lake.
Cal-Mart crews have already eradicated Chinese privet on about 46 acres of the Brumbley Creek site, but the additional acreage was just recently discovered.
Campbell received a proposal from Eco-Tech Consultants to perform the work but their bid was $950 per acre.
“You already have Cal-Mart working out there and they have cleared some 40 acres. I’m asking that you consider allowing them to clear the additional 30 acres for a cost of $10,000 which is basically $300 per acre,” Campbell said.
Commissioner Norton asked how Campbell planned to control the privet in the future. The consultant said a management plan would be developed and it would include spraying the area beginning next year.
“We will hit hard next year. Once the bigger stuff is removed it will be easier to maintain,” Campbell said.
Speaking from what he said was personal experience, Commissioner Norton said privet is hard to kill.
Campbell also sought board approval for road department assistance in establishing a cow crossing over a creek on the Herring/Harrison mitigation site off Lake Douglas Road.
The crossing was a stipulation in the agreement with the property owners when the county acquired the easement for the mitigation site.
Road Superintendent Stanley Elkins estimates it would take five to six loads of rock and he would have to rent some equipment to access the area and construct the crossing. Elkins predicted it would take a full day and possibly a little more to complete the work.
“What happens if we put this in and the cows don’t like it and won’t use them. What then?” Commissioner Norton asked.
Campbell said he was not certain, but he predicted the county would be required to put in a crossing the cows would use.
“Cows don’t like to walk on rocks. I’ve been around them all my life. That’s my only concern in doing it,” the road superintendent said.
Commissioner Norton said if a combination of dirt and rock is used the cows would likely utilize the crossing.
“I don’t want this to come back and bite us. If we’ve got to do it we need to do it right,” Vice Chairman LaFaye Copeland said.
The board voted unanimously to authorize Elkins to use his forces and to rent the necessary equipment to complete the crossing.
“We need to fix it and get the owner to sign agreement that they accepted it and we’re through,” Commissioners Childs said.

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