Wednesday, November 6, 2013
Despite pleas from Gov. Nikki Haley to use a private contractor to clean up the Sampit River from the recent Front Street fire, Mayor Jack Scoville says it is in the city's best interest to use the National Guard.
At a meeting Tuesday in Georgetown, Haley said “I caution you in bringing in government to do things because government has strings attached.”
She said “the cost of what it will take for the Guard to do the work is about the same as if you hired a private company.”
Scoville said that is not what the city discovered when it checked with the private firm R.L. Morrison - the same company that has been hired to repair the damage the Harborwalk sustained in the fire.
Scoville said R.L. Morrison quoted a price of $84,000 to do the work.
City Administrator Chris Carter said the $84,000 pricetag was a quote for the cleanup only.
The cost for the Harborwalk repair is $67,788.
He said Sen. Yancey McGill was able to secure a grant for $20,000 from the Park Recreation Trust fund to defray National Guard expenses when the exercise begins.
Scoville said because the job needs to be done quickly, there was no time to open the project for bids.
Carter said the city procurement code allows the bidding process to be bypassed when there is a threat to public health, welfare, critical economy and efficiency, or safety under emergency conditions.
He said the city feels “the existence of building debris, coolers, beer kegs, foodstuffs, charred timber and other matter lying in the Sampit River, in which floating debris is contained somewhat by a Coast Guard boom” does make this an emergency.
Carter said he has “ yet to talk to one person who didn't think cleaning the River, a territorial water of the State of South Carolina, was not a high priority. Without monitoring the quality of the water to see if it has demised in the area I would say removing it quickly is very important and leaving it in has a deleterious effect on the water quality and reflects badly” on the city.
An advance member of the S.C. National Guard is visiting today to set the stage for the work to begin, Carter said.
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