The Mashall County Commissioners opened bids for the Owner-Occupied Housing Rehabilitation Project during their meeting on Monday.  Grant Administrator Shannon McLeod from Priority Projects was unable to attend so project architect Brent Martin handled the duties.

Brent said the project has been through a long process due to COVID and the lack of interest in these smaller projects.  Martin was happy to have one bid to open. 

He recapped the scope of the project before announcing the bids.  The funds for this work are administered by the Indiana Housing Community Development Authority.  It’s federal money that passes through the state and is a part of the county’s Stellar designation.  The project renovates owner-occupied homes for low-income individuals.  Martin said these are a bunch of little projects with a maximum of $25,000 per home. 

Brent said the ideal people to do these projects are small builder businesses and home repair guys and unfortunately, they don’t work well with the structure of the program.  He said it’s very hard to find bidders and they have struggled with that a few times in the bid process. 

Martin was happy to have a bid from Brown & Brown Construction out of Wakarusa. He said they did the REES Theatre project and are working at the United Methodist Church in Plymouth. 

Six residential homes were in the bid packet, one in Argos, one in Bourbon, one in Bremen, and three in Plymouth.  Martin said they prioritized the various projects in each home so there was a base bid and then alternative bids.  The total bid amounts with the base bids and all alternates ranged from $15,950 up to $52,875.

Commissioner Kevin Overmyer asked how much money the county received for the project and Martin said depending on the bid amounts there is enough money to do 14 or 15 homes. He said they will do another bid letting for several homes that need roof replacements in the late winter for spring work.  He’s hoping that a contractor could bid on 5 or 6 projects to make it worthwhile.     

The bids were taken under advisement by the County Commissioners.  Priority Projects will review the bids and bring a recommendation back to the commissioners.