County Awards $5.5 Million Courthouse Restoration Bid

marion-county-texasBy BOB PALMER
Jimplecute News Editor

Marion County Commissioners unanimously chose Joe R. Jones Construction of Weatherford to restore the 105-year-old Courthouse. JRJ was the low bidder at $5,537,000 million. County Judge Leward LaFleur said the closest bidder to JRJ was more than $200,000 higher.

The court had another reason, besides price, in choosing JRJ. “Joe Jones stuck out because one of their subs is the company that redid the Courthouse windows when they were restored,” LaFleur said. “Everyone was satisfied and spoke about how courteous their crew had been.”

Now in its fourth generation of family ownership, JRJ traces its heritage back to Joe R. Jones, who after finishing his service as a tail-gunner during World War II, followed his father into the building trades. JRJ Construction is a preferred general contractor for Walmart and numerous others across the country.

“We are excited to get started,” Landon Neeker, director of business development for JRJ, said. Neeker noted JRJ has executed courthouse restoration projects in Newton, Erath, Denton, Archer and LaVaca counties.

Commissioners also approved three resolutions and three tax sales, but proposals for a new telephone and internet system and construction of a records storage building encountered obstacles. “AT&T and the telephone provider folks who we have the phones with want $30,000 to move phones out of Courthouse and into Annex,” LaFleur said “I thought we need to look at some options.”

ETex proposed replacing all present phones and internet, waiving the $27,000 installation fee. “Every county employee at the courthouse and the annex will have a new phone,” LaFleur said. “Everyone will be on fiber.”

LaFleur also wants to reduce the number of telephone and internet providers for the county from five to one. “The present system requires the county to buy replacement phones and systems,” LaFleur said.

“As long as the county is under contract with ETex, telephone, internet equipment and software upgrades will be included. I’m trying to get all of this under one roof.”

County Treasurer Terrie Neuville pointed out, however, the county had a contract with Fidelity through 2022 for internet services. Commissioner Joe McKnight said the court should find out about the county’s obligation to Fidelity before acting on the ETex proposal. LaFleur agreed and the court tabled the matter.

A proposal by J.P. Abernathy to build a records storage facility at Cypress Airport for $47,150 was also tabled. County Clerk Vicki Smith wanted a roll-up door removed and a 3-0 door replaced with a 4-0 door in the specifications.

District Clerk Susan Anderson said she still had yet to hear from two other bidders. The sale of four lots in Pine Harbor was approved by commissioners. Two lots went for $500 each and the other pair sold for $1,664. All lots had been offered at a tax sale auction.

Commissioners approved resolutions endorsing the United States-Mexico-Canada Trade Agreement, Soil & Water Stewardship Week and Sexual Assault Awareness Month.

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