County moves forward with fairgrounds project

Uinta County Commissioners Eric South, Craig Welling and Mark Anderson listen to a report from county clerk Amanda Hutchinson on the bids received for a project to replace panels on the livestock pens at the Uinta County Fairgrounds. (HERALD PHOTO/Sheila McGuire)

EVANSTON — At the April 2 regular meeting, the Uinta County Commissioners voted to award a bid to move forward with replacing the panels in the livestock pens at the Uinta County Fairgrounds at a cost of approximately $106,000. The bid was awarded to Murdoch’s Ranch & Home Supply. 

Uinta County Clerk Amanda Hutchinson said four bids were received for the project, with the lowest bid coming from SCI Lyman for approximately $71,000. One bid did not meet all the project requirements and was therefore not considered. The high bid came from The Lumberyard and was also not considered. 

The $106,000 bid from Murdoch’s was significantly higher than that of SCI Lyman, largely due to the use of a different brand of panels. Hutchinson said members of the county maintenance department visited sites using the 2W panels as proposed in the SCI Lyman bid, and they had significant concerns about them. 

Commissioner Mark Anderson said concerns listed included those of significant rusting and non-encapsulated vertical pipes that would allow moisture inside, creating the potential for freezing and internal rusting, as well as using only one pin on the panels. Anderson said he recognized the significant difference in cost between the two bids, but he feels the lower bid would carry the potential for problems and greater financial exposure in the future.

“I don’t want to buy things twice,” he said, “and I can see us spending a lot more money over the long haul if we go with the cheaper bid now.” 

Commissioner Craig Welling agreed and said, “Taking the low bid isn’t always necessarily the best way to go. It makes sense to get higher quality products.”

Commissioner Eric South agreed and said he believed the increased costs would actually pay for themselves in the long-term because of decreased maintenance costs on the higher quality panels. 

Kendall Barker with the Evanston Rodeo Series and Dustin Matthews with Evanston Cowboy Days also spoke in favor of going with the more expensive bid from Murdoch’s, which would utilize Priefert brand panels. Matthews said, “It’s hard to argue against what the National Finals Rodeo uses.” 

Commissioners voted to award the bid to Murdoch’s. Approximately $33,000 of the $106,000 cost will be paid for with a grant awarded from the State Loan and Investment Board. 

In other business Ron Taylor, Uinta County facilities operations manager presented a notice to award a bid for work on the Bridger Valley Transfer Station to A Pleasant Construction out of Green River, at a cost of approximately $1,445,000, which Taylor said was under the amount budgeted. Work on the project is scheduled to begin before the end of April. 

Taylor said after the bid opened the county commissioners asked him to inquire with the Wyoming Department of Environmental Quality about the possibility of adding a restroom to the scale house at the transfer station. The DEQ has approved that so there will be a change order to the contract with A Pleasant Construction to include the scale house restroom. 

Commissioners also heard from Uinta County Fire Warden Eric Quinney about the annual operating plan for the county fire district. Quinney said commissioners needed to sign off on the wildfire management operating plan, which is a multi-agency agreement among several agencies, including Uinta County, the U.S. Forest Service and the Bureau of Land Management. 

The county’s role under the agreement is largely setting fire restrictions when necessary and agreeing to coordinate with the USFS and BLM to let those agencies know about any restrictions set and vice versa. There are no major changes to the previous annual agreement. 

Quinney said last year the county never went into full fire restrictions and just had the ban on fireworks instituted after the Twin Ridge Fire on July 4. He said he is hopeful the wet weather this year will be helpful in firefighting efforts, but he had some words of caution. 

“The danger in this type of weather pattern is that we have a lot of early-on moisture and things are going to grow to be really green, but our fire season here typically doesn’t start until the middle of August and goes through September and October. If we don’t get that summertime moisture, that monsoonal moisture, at the end of July and first part of August, all of that green stuff is going to dry out and be real nice and tall and that’s all going to be subject to fire.” 

Quinney also touched on the rough year so far in terms of vehicular accidents and fatalities on Wyoming roadways. “It’s been a tough winter, especially on the I-80 end of things. There have been 35 fatalities and seven of those have been in Uinta County. ...Hopefully we’re turning a page and getting into a calmer pattern. It’s been a crazy winter and it’s taken its toll out there on the highway.” 

Jeff Breininger, county maintenance manager on the courthouse security project, provided an update on the security upgrades being made to the county complex. The project includes the installation and/or upgrades of multiple security cameras throughout the complex, as well as changes to some doors to update them to electronic locking systems and bollards to entryways. Breininger said there will ultimately be so many cameras installed that, “anywhere coming into this building you will be on camera.” 

The security upgrades are being funded through multiple different federal and state grants. 

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