The Rusk County Commissioners approved a bid to repair the 70-year-old elevator at the monthly RC Commissioners Court meeting Monday.

Bobby McBride, representing Hi Tech Elevators, put all his cards on the table by presenting four scenarios encompassing costs that ranged from $50K to $123K.

The low-end bid would have essentially put a Band-Aid on the elevator.

The high-end would have brought the 20th century-era elevator up to 2016 codes with all the bells and whistles and an Occupational Safety and Health Administration inspection.

“The elevator at current status is about 40% what is should be,” McBride said. “This unit was put in late 50s or early 60s. They last this long, (but) it’s at the end of its lifespan now.”

McBride had a proposal that would cost approximately $62.5K and would bring the elevator back to 100% of is operational capabilities.

McBride said it was customary for the company to accept a 50% down payment and another 25% upon delivery of materials and the balance upon completion.

Commissioner, Pct. 3 Bennie Whitworth took exception to that and questioned the procedure.

McBride informed the court that material were coming from a third party vendor and had to be paid for upfront.

Whitworth went to bat for the taxpayers saying he understood the reason for down payments, but that 75% was not what the county procedure called for.

“I just had a hard time spending taxpayer dollars paying 75% of a bill before the first wrench had been turned,” Whitworth said. 

The situation was eventually resolved with McBride accepting 25% upfront, 25% at delivery and the balance upon completion of the job. 

In comments after the meeting, Whitworth explained the rest of the money questions.

Whitworth said that while maintenance was part of the budget, large ticket items such as elevators come from a contingency fund. And this repair and replace will not upset the budget that was passed last fall.

In other county business, commissioners:

• Appointed John Cloutier to serve a two-year term on the Northeast Texas Regional Mobility Authority board of directors with the new term expiring Feb. 1, 2022

• Reappointed Dr. Joyce Starling to a two-year term to the Rusk County Health Authority

• Approved items to be attached to auction off by Auctioneer Express from the Rusk County Sheriff’s Office

• Approved two items from Pct. 4 to also be auctioned off by Auctioneer Express; a 2009 Ford F450 4x2 haul truck; 2010 Kubota 4WD tractor

• Approved submissions from the Auditor, Treasurer, Rusk County JPs 1 and 5, Maintenance and RC Indigent reports.

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