KITTANNING – Armstrong County officials opened a lot of bid packages last week for proposed improvements to the Belmont Complex near Kittanning. But they didn’t like what they saw.

Total base bids for the Phase 4 project at the county-owned Belmont totaled more than $400,000 — roughly $100,000 more than what the county has to spend on the project.

The proposed projects include the addition of a new multi-purpose room, as well as a new women’s locker room.

Three alternates were also included in the bids, including a new officials’ locker room, windows and openings into the ice rink, and replacement of an air conditioning unit.

Even with ignoring the bids for those alternates, the apparent low base bids totaled $403,700. J.T. Masonry Construction of New Kensigning was the apparent low base bidder for general construction at $255,000. Enders Plumbing and Heating of Kittanning submitted the low bid of $45,300 for plumbing work. D&G Mechanical of West Middlesex was the low-bidder for mechanical work at $69,800. And IE Power of Freeport turned in the low base bid of $33,600 for election work.

Following the bid opening, county planner Carmen Johnson said that the county had received a grant for $337,000 in total funding for the project, but that after engineering costs, the county has roughly $302,000 for the total work. The funding comes from the state Department of Conservation and Natural Resources (DCNR) and the state Department of Community and Economic Development (DCED).

“We’ll have to take a look at that and look at the alternates,” she said.

Commissioners Pat Fabian, Jason Renshaw and George Skamai, who tabled the matter to review the bids, said that the project originated before they came to office, and that they would prefer to see other work done at the Belmont instead.

“The Belmont has significant needs,” Fabian said, explaining that the county attempted to shift the funding to other areas of the Belmont that were in more need, but could not without rejecting the grants altogether.

The project’s architect plans to have a recommendation for the commissioners in time for their Nov. 15 meeting.

Other Business

• The commissioners approved the sale of a small piece of land near the county jail. Bergad Inc. has purchased the land for $9,100. Officials said the land used to connect to a bridge that was removed, so that it is no longer of use to the county.

• Darin Alviano, the county’s new director of planning and development, was appointed to a four-year term on the Southwestern Pennsylvania Commission.

• The commissioners proclaimed Nov. 27 as #GivingTuesday, an effort to encourage residents to donate to local non-profit organizations.

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