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Commissioners vote unanimous support for CMAR

By Stephanie Day

After hours of discussion at the Jan. 11 Bandera County Commissioners Court meeting, commissioners voted unanimously to hire a construction-manager-at-risk (CMAR) for the new jail-justice center.

Commissioners were also asked to accept a gift for the county. Since that request was under public comment on the agenda, commissioners could not take action on it. They promised John Standish that they will vote at a future meeting on whether or not to accept the .75 Howitzer shell that Standish’s father hand-engraved with the American eagle and these words, “World War, 1914-1918.” Standish did not want to entrust the valuable item to the Frontier Times Museum because they would not promise him that it would never be sold.

Also during public comment, former Sheriff James MacMillan presented the county with a $25,416 check from the Texas Association of Counties Risk Management Pool for “a job well done.” MacMillan said the check represented the amount of money the county saved by participating in the renewable credit program, a risk management insurance pool encompassing 176 counties. Six million dollars was returned to the participating counties for liability, auto and law enforcement liability plans. MacMillian told county commissioner that they had been “pro-active in protecting claims.”

Back to the agenda item on jail and justice center construction, even newly elected commissioner Bobby Harris-who opposed the construction of the jail-justice center-agreed on the need for a CMAR because they felt it was the best value for the taxpayer at the initial stage. Harris said that he wants at least five bids on every phase of the jail construction process.

Architect Wayne Gondeck said that one benefit of going with a construction-manager-at- risk is that it allows the jail to be redesigned now before the bidding process begins and it guarantees a maximum price. Gondeck said he had been opposed to construction managers in the past when the project was smaller and more simple to complete. He said it would take a “team effort” to match the state standards on jail construction with available local tax dollars.

Out of qualified bids for serving as CMAR, the field will be narrowed down to five choices. County commissioners will then be asked to score those applications before hiring a CMAR. All items after the hiring of the CMAR will be put out to bid.