Trumbull County Fair Board to get legal opinion on bid

CORTLAND – The Trumbull County Fair Board was flush with questions about the lone contractor who submitted a bid low enough to be accepted for the construction of new restrooms.

If the bid is approved, the board would avoid a costly rebidding process.

The board met at the fairgrounds Tuesday night, hours after the old restrooms were demolished. The plan is to get new restrooms built by June.

The original estimate for the restrooms was $244,0000, but initially it looked like all eight submitted bids were more than 10 percent above the estimate, which automatically had to be rejected.

However, architect Tim Sexton told the board another bid was not accepted initially but was later determined to be valid and within bid specifications.

“I made a determination at the time some paperwork was missing,” Sexton said. “Since then I determined I was mistaken. I believe everything required was submitted.”

The lowest bid, from CS Contractors LLC of Vienna, was $259,780, which is within the 10 percent required.

However, nobody knows anything about the contractor, who is reported to be in business for 18 years.

“There are no reviews,” board President Harry Rodgers said. “There are no bad ones, but no good ones either.”

“I don’t know anything about this firm, whether good, bad or indifferent,” Sexton said.

C.S. Contractors’ bid is roughly half that of the highest bidder, board members were told.

Board member Joe Turon said, “This guy is a contractor and he doesn’t even have a web page.”

The board voted 7-3 not to rebid, a process that would delay work and cost another $977 for legal advertising.

Members said they would like to talk with the contractor and find out what other work the firm has done, look at past projects and find out how satisfied the customers are.

At the same time, Rodgers and Sexton said they think the board should talk with its attorney to make sure it is on solid legal footing before agreeing to meet. An already scheduled meeting will be 7 p.m. Thursday.

The County Engineer’s Office used a backhoe Tuesday morning to demolish the old restrooms. The county got a $50,000 U.S. Department of Agriculture grant to help pay for the 30-by-60-foot building, which would include eight showers. Another $43,400 local match will come from 2016-17 county capital improvements money and $175,507 will come from the Fair Board.

blebzelter@tribtoday.com