Sidewalk error’s cost challenged by commissioners

By Greg Peak

LIVINGSTON -- Who is going to pay for a $3,200 error made on the sidewalk leading to the new senior citizens' center in Livingston was an issue this week during the Polk County Commissioners Court meeting.

Convening on Monday instead of their normal Tuesday due to conflict with a state conference, commissioners received a change order request from engineers on the construction of the senior center that sparked the debate.

According to the Chow Bao representing EHRA engineers of Houston, the slope of the center's main sidewalk from its front entrance to the parking area needed to be changed to make it compliant with the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA).

Pct. 4 Commissioner Tommy Overstreet noted from the beginning of the project it was emphasized that because this facility was for senior citizens, it had to be ADA compliant. He questioned how such a mistake could be made and asked who was responsible for the error.
"Why are the people of Polk County being asked to pay to correct something for whoever made this mistake?" Polk County Judge Sydney Murphy asked. "Exactly," Overstreet added.

In the end the commissioners tabled the change order request to allow the project's grant consultant Randy Blanks and Bao to confer with others involved with the project.

Also related to the new senior center, commissioners decided to handle the parking lot striping and building landscaping in-hour rather than to hire outside contractors.

Disaster declaration
In other business Monday, commissioners approved the extension of the county disaster declaration for another 30 days, meaning it will now run through at least Oct. 30.

Having such a declaration gives commissioners added authority to handle road and bridge repairs throughout the county.

The declaration was issued originally by Murphy on Aug. 25 as Hurricane Harvey approached and was confirmed and extended for 30 days by the full commissioners court on Aug. 31.

Other business
During the meeting, commissioners also:
• Presented the Texas Historical Commission's Distinguished Service Award to the Polk County Historical Commission for their work during 2016 to preserve local history.
• Authorized Sheriff Kenneth Hammack to advertise for bids for the purchase of six patrol units and two criminal investigation units.
• Authorized Pct. 1 Commissioner Bob Willis to advertise for bids for the purchase of four pickup trucks.
• Accepted a bid of $65,000 for the concrete headwall construction on the Freeman Road bridge in Precinct 3.
• Voted to re-nominate all of the current five members of the Polk Central Appraisal District Board for new terms.
• Accepted the annual bids on road materials, tires, oil and gas and pest control.
• Approved the sale of properties seized for the non-payment of taxes, including four lots in Precinct 1, a one-acre tract in Precinct 3 and four lots and a 2.664-acre tract in Precinct 4.