Special meeting ends in no decision for sports complex earthwork

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‘My concern is spending this much money, and not necessarily having the assurances that depending on who is mayor, will continue to complete the project.’

By Zac Oakes


The Campbellsville City Council voted down a motion to accept a bid for mass earthwork at the site of the Campbellsville Sports Park at a special-called meeting Monday evening. 

The council met and heard from City Engineer Blake Durrett about three bids that were submitted for the project and opened last week. 

The low bid belonged to Edwards Contracting, with a minimum bid of $370,880. Durrett said they did the earthwork for the new Kid Spot Center on Gene Cash Drive. Durrett said he believes all three are perfectly capable of doing the job, but council member Dave Nunery pointed out that Edwards had noted in their bid that they could complete the project in 60 days as opposed to the other bidders, Hughes Excavating and RAME Contracting, noting in their bids that the estimated finish date would be 120 days. 

Council member Patti Phillips questioned Durrett about the priority of this project, asking if there were other projects that needed to be looked at before this, specifically noting a damaged garbage truck as well as asking if the council should look at purchasing another medic unit or police cruiser. 

Durrett said he was not the best person to ask about the issues Phillips mentioned, noting that those would be separate budget items, and there was no additional discussion about those issues from any of the council members.

Mayor Tony Young said he thought the bid from Edwards came in lower than expected, and said the city has the money to pay for it outright. Edwards offered a financing option, if the council chose to go that route, but Young said he would prefer not to finance it. 

After a short discussion, Nunery made a motion to accept the bid from Edwards Contracting. After approximately 10 seconds of silence, council member Jimmy Ewing seconded the motion, stating that he was seconding the motion in order to keep the discussion on the topic going. 

More discussion ensued, as council member Diane Ford-Benningfield asked Young about how the upcoming elections could affect this project. Young has a challenger in former mayor Brenda Allen in the November general election, and all 12 council seats are also up for election. 

Ford-Benningfield said she had some concerns about spending such a large amount of money with some uncertainty regarding the mayor’s race and the city council race. 

“This is a lot of money,” she said. “We have an election coming up and we don’t know the outcome. We won’t know the outcome until close to the first of the year. How do we have assurance that all this we are going to spend, we are going to spend this money on it, that it is going to continue? Do we have already an agreement that no matter what, that this will be completed? ... My concern is spending this much money, and not necessarily having the assurances that depending on who is mayor, will continue to complete the project.” 

Young said that when the council purchased this property, they had the hopes of building a sports complex. 

“As far as moving forward with it, that will be up to the council,” Young said. “The council will have to decide what they want to do with that. It wouldn’t necessarily be the mayor’s choice.” 

Ewing, as well as Phillips, said it might be a good idea to table the motion until the next council meeting on Tuesday, Sept. 4, because only seven of the 12 council members were present for the meeting. 

Council members Sharon Hoskins-Sanders, Alexander Shively, Randy Herron, Greg Rice and Terry Keltner were not in attendance at the meeting. 

Young said he would prefer the council move forward with it now because he believes time is of the essence.

“Weeks are important and that is why I would like to see us get started on this now,” Young said. “We have good weather. Let’s get moving and get started as quick as we can so we aren’t caught in bad weather.”

The motion was brought up before a voice vote. There was a mixture of council members voting in favor and voting against with the majority unclear. 

Immediately following the vote, however, Phillips said she would like to make a motion to table the acceptance of the bid but a second on that motion was not immediately heard, though Ewing said later he would second that motion. Some confusion ensued as council members tried to determine how to proceed.

Facing some uncertainty about the outcome, and Ewing stating that he did not vote in the voice vote, Ewing requested to have a roll call vote on the original motion to accept the bid.

Nunery, Jay Eastridge and Mike Hall Jr. voted in favor of the motion, while Ewing, Phillips, Ford-Benningfield and A.J. Johnson voted against, striking down the motion. 

Each of the four voting no stated that they preferred to table the motion. 

The bid for earthwork at the sports complex will likely be brought before the council again at its regular monthly meeting, set for Tuesday, Sept. 4 at 7 p.m.