County awards bids for rebuilding low water crossing, bridge

By Curtis Chubb, Special to the Herald

At Monday’s meeting, the Milam County Commissioners Court approved a ‘Standing Order’ for the Milam County Probate Court to “require all probate proceedings to submit to the court a $250 Ad litem Fee deposit.”

‘Ad litem’ is defined by Wikipedia as “a term used in law to refer to the appointment by a court of one party to act in a lawsuit on behalf of another party such as a child or an incapacitated adult, who is deemed incapable of representing himself.”

Milam County Judge David Barkemeyer sponsored the agenda item because he said that in some cases, the estate being probated refuses to pay the Ad litem fee.

Two major bid openings took place at the meeting. 

The first bid opening was for construction of the low-water crossing on County Road 136 in Precinct 2. Two bids were received: $157,966 from DIGG Commercial, LLC, of Austin; and $67,103 from Mine Service Limited of Rockdale. Precinct 2 Commissioner Donald Shuffield’s motion to award the contract to Mine Service was unanimously approved.

The second bid opening was for construction of a new bridge on County Road 267 in Precinct 2. Two bids were received: $308,872 from DIGG Commercial, LLC, of Austin; and $183,000 from Curtis Neyland Bridge Construction of Marquez Shuffield’s motion to award the contract to Curtis Neyland Bridge Construction was unanimously approved.

There was a brief discussion about the disparities in the bidding with Shuffield commenting that although both low-bid companies visited the sites of the planned construction, DIGG Commercial based their bids only on the plans used for the bidding process. 

Dates for the completion of the projects are not known at present.

In other business, the commissioners court:

• Officially acknowledged an email from Rockdale City Manager Chris Whittaker thanking the commissioners court and especially Shuffield for their help in moving the “historic” calaboose from Burlington to downtown Rockdale;

• Approved the deputations of Alejandra Ruelas for the Milam County Tax Assessor-Collector’s Office, and John Wayne Londric for the Milam County Sheriff’s Office; 

• Listened to Milam County Veterans Service Office Ken Janisek report that although the total number of Milam County veterans decreased by 24 in 2015 leaving a total of 2,093, the amount of federal compensation for veterans increased 5 percent to a total of $8.9 million; Barkemeyer pointed out that most of the veterans’ compensation was for medical care; and

• Appointed interim Tax Assessor-Collector Sherry Mueck to calculate and publish the 2016 effective tax rate for the county; the 2016 effective tax rate is the tax rate that would produce the same amount of taxes in 2016 that were received in 2015.