McCOOK, Nebraska -- Red Willow County, Nebraska, commissioners Monday morning awarded a Norfolk firm the bid to build a new bridge over Red Willow Creek north of the former Republican Valley Junior/Senior High School between McCook and Indianola.
Norfolk Contracting Inc. will build the precast concrete bridge for $213,285, a bid that is 11 percent below an engineer's estimate of $240,300.
Other bidders on the precast concrete bridge were Wilke Contracting Corp. of Kearney, $253,182; and Simon Contractors of North Platte, $239,227.
Wilke and Simon also submitted bids for a deck steel girder bridge: Wilke, $241,194; and Simon. $253,224.
Commissioner Steve Downer said county crews are upgrading the county road to the east to handle increased traffic on it during construction of the bridge.
County surveyor Gary Dicenta told commissioners that the contractor will build a shoe-fly at the site of the bridge construction, and it will be at the contractor's discretion whether the public can use it.
Dicenta said the bridge has to be done by May 18, 2012; he did not know at the commissioners' meeting if Norfolk Contracting will start this fall or early next year.
Commissioners awarded a second bid Monday morning, to McCook Contracting LLC to remove countertops and cabinets in the treasurer's office in the courthouse and install new.
McCook Contracting's bid of $5,969 was the only bid submitted for the project.
Commission chairman Earl McNutt said this project has been needed for about two years, since the treasurer's office took over from the clerk's office the issuance of titles for motor vehicles, boats and trailers. This change-over was the result of LB 49, signed into law in 2009, that makes Nebraska country treasurer's offices a one-stop shop for issuing the documents.
"For whatever reason, we haven't done this (cabinet and countertop renovation) for two years," McNutt said. "We need to bite the bullet and just get it done."
Treasurer Marleen Garcia said the new counter area will include one more window and "will be more user-friendly."
Work will start when the cabinets -- sub-contracted to a North Platte firm -- are finished. The project will be done by Jan. 1, 2012.
Garcia asks for patience from the public as her office operations will continue as usual during construction. "We might be slowed down during the counter work," and the messiest part will be the removal of the old cabinets, Garcia said. But the office will remain open for business as usual.
Commissioners adopted a resolution assigning county sale certificates to 11 properties not sold for delinquent taxes during the public tax sale in March.
County treasurer Marleen Garcia told commissioners that the process of foreclosing on properties delinquent on their real estate taxes two years or more needs to move forward through filing in district court, district court proceedings and sheriff's sales. "We need to get these done, and back on the tax rolls," Garcia said.
There was one foreclosure, in Indianola, this year, Garcia said.
Commissioners will discuss the need for more action on foreclosures with county attorney Paul Wood at their Sept. 26 meeting. They also have the option to hire another attorney, someone familiar with real estate law, to take care of foreclosures for the county if Wood doesn't feel he has the time.
Commission Chairman Earl McNutt told Jay Spearman of Ameritas Investment Corp. of Omaha that Red Willow County is "being forced into this decision" -- that of building a new jail or continuing to transport and house prisoners in out-of-county and out-of-state jails -- by a decision by the City of McCook not to include short-term prisoner holding cells in its new municipal facility.
"No matter what," McNutt said, "our costs of housing and transporting prisoners is going to increase, with more transportation and more officers."
Spearman said, "timing-wise," interest rates are low and he doesn't expect any big change in the next year or so.
The jail option preferred by the county's jail committee is estimated to cost $5,105,830. Spearman estimated that a 20-year bond for construction will cost the homeowner of a $100,000 house an additional $46 a year, and the owner of a $1 million ranch an additional $460 a year.
Spearman said Ameritas will make every effort to sell bonds locally, saying, "Those who pay the taxes should have the opportunities to buy the bonds."
Ameritas is the third bonding company interviewed by commissioners for information on bond financing for jail construction. The other two companies have been Smith Hayes Financial Services Inc and DA Davidson and Co.
In other action, commissioners:
* Adopted a resolution to adjust the boundaries of county commissioner districts to equalize the county's population determined by the 2010 federal 10-year census.
* Appointed Janice Bamesberger of rural Bartley to replace Orian Fritz on the Hillcrest Nursing Home board of directors.