Before the year is out, work on the new city/county government and judicial center in Thomson is expected to begin.
At least that's the latest word from local officials, as they work to iron out some recent contract problems with firms that had bid on the multi-million dollar construction project.
McDuffie County Commissioner Paul McCorkle said Monday night that he feels confident those problems are now in the past and the project can now move forward without further delay.
Certain work at the construction site had been planned for this past Monday, but because some stipulations had to be smoothed out with at least two bid contractors initial work had to be postponed.
"I feel confident that we can move forward now," Mr. McCorkle told The McDuffie Mirror . "And I believe we're going to end up saving at least $300,000 on the overall project. It may have well been worth the little bit of holdup to save that kind of money."
Mr. McCorkle added that he was pleased with the sense of urgency at which Jud Bryant had worked to resolve some of the latest problems.
During a Dec. 15 commission meeting, Mr. McCorkle had expressed several concerns regarding two of the bids received for work at the city/county government and judicial center.
He wasn't the only one.
Two local businessmen -- Brink Bradshaw and Benji Cranford -- also expressed some of their personal views.
The bulk of Mr. Bradshaw's concerns involved why R.W. Allen LLC, the at-risk construction firm, had not contracted out more with local businesses getting the work instead of businesses outside the county.
Mr. Bryant, who was hired by local government officials to assist them on the overall project, assured Mr. Bradshaw that proper procedures had been followed.
"A lot of local contractors are in need of work," Mr. Bradshaw said.
He said it made more sense to him that such work be awarded to local contractors so that the money made by them would stay here as opposed to be given to outside contractors who would spend the money elsewhere.
He urged commissioners to make the "best judgment."
Mr. Cranford, meanwhile, said he was upset that more local contractors did not get work on the local government project, too.
As far as the grading contract goes, Barnett Southern, of Washington, "beat me fair and square, and I don't have any problems with that," Mr. Cranford said. "My gripe is that it appears to me they are giving a $100,000 tip to the business that landed the air conditioning bid."
Mr. McCorkle contends such isn't true.
"That's not the case at all," Mr. McCorkle said.
"We wouldn't give anybody money as a tip. First off, it's not our money to give away. Its taxpayers' money and we're entrusted to oversee every penny and use it wisely."