The lowest and best bid was from Construction Consultants of Chattanooga at $2.2 million for the total project.
Changes had been made from initial bids to get the numbers closer to estimated amounts.
“The bids were originally received on Dec. 4 and came in at $2.5 million and $2.8 million, which are a lot higher than what we had hoped for. So, we went back to the bidders and we said, ‘What are the high price items? What can we change?’” Bradley County Engineer Sandra Knight explained.
The most expensive element that could be changed was switching from pervious concrete to using regular concrete and retention ponds. The original concrete would allow rainwater to seep through, eliminating the need for retention ponds, according to Knight.
Bradley County Mayor D. Gary Davis said even with all the dirt that had to be moved for the retention ponds it is still a less expensive option. According to previous figures, the pervious concrete would have cost $280,000.
Some other changes included using shingled roofs instead of metal, using block instead of brick on some areas and using fiberglass instead of ceramic tile in showers.
“We would prefer to do a metal roof, but just about every time when we go to the bid process it’s cost prohibitive,” Davis said.
The metal roof would have cost $19,000 per station.
The county has been approved for a $1.2 million hazard mitigation grant toward the project because the office and living area will meet safe room standards. This is a reimbursable grant, meaning the county submit the paperwork and bills to the Federal Emergency Management Agency and the Tennessee Emergency Management Agency for payment. The local portion of the grant match will be $160,458. Knight said this amount would include the property cost, necessary land surveys and geotechnical reports, as well as the local design aspects, grant administration and the building permit.
Remaining cost to the county after the grants are applied comes to $1,101,999.
Davis said there is a chance that the county may be approved for more money for the grant since costs came in much higher than estimated.
“It would be in our favor if it comes in that way,” Davis said.
However, he told the finance committee members not to count on this happening.
Davis said the audited numbers that were recently released show there is more money left in the general fund than initially projected in the long-range plan, which will also help to offset the higher cost.
Increase in the cost of the project means increasing the amount the county will borrow for the project.
“At the end of the day that’s your biggest change, that your bond payment went up $30,000,” Davis said.
The bond payment is estimated to be $226,000 at 3 percent interest over 15 years
A $2.7 million bond will be needed. A $2 million bond had been initially anticipated. Revenue from the fire tax will give the county the revenue stream needed to borrow the money.
As BCFR expands, more county residents will be within five miles of a paid fire station. Those who are now closer to a paid station than before will have a higher Insurance Service Office rating and an increase in their fire tax.