Sammy Hall

Baldwin County Commissioner Sammy Hall talks about the new electronic drive-by system the county will convert to as a more modern and accurate way to read water meters during Tuesday night’s commission meeting.

The Baldwin County Board of Commissioners approved separate bids totaling more than $3 million to convert manual reading of water meters to a modern drive-by computerized system. 

Matt Smith with Carter & Sloope Inc. Consulting Engineers, of Canton, attended the Tuesday night meeting and informed commissioners about the bids that had been received for the project.

“I’ve been working with the water and sewer department over the last year or so to bid out meter replacement projects — taking your meters from manual read to a drive-by system,” Smith said. “You have received a $2.5 million commitment from GIFA in the form of a $2 million loan and half-million dollars principal forgiveness.”

Six bids were received for Contract A, which is the equipment — the meters themselves, as well as software — on July 11, according to Smith. 

Another five bids, meanwhile, were received for Contract B, which is the insulation, he added.

Smith said Jason Kidd, who oversees the county’s water and sewer department, has worked tirelessly over the past several weeks to evaluate the bids.

“And on behalf of the water and sewer department, I am going to make a recommendation that the commissioners entertain awarding it to Lanier Municipal Supply Co. Inc., (of Lakeland) for Contract A in the amount of [$1.8 million], and for Contract B, M &E Construction, of Forsyth in the amount of $777,958.60,” Smith said.

After Smith’s comments, Commissioner Sammy Hall said he wanted residents to understand that the county will be installing new water meters that can be electronically read.

“If you’ve got a water leak, you want to try and get it fixed because these water meters are going to be much more accurate than what we have now,” Hall said. “This is going to improve our water system, significantly.”

Hall also said it would help lower labor cost and be “very beneficial” to the water system in the long-run.

Commission chairman John H. Westmoreland called for a vote from the full board. The vote on the award of the bids to those respective companies was unanimously approved.

Baldwin County Assistant Manager Dawn Hudson said the county had recently advertised for bids for a general maintenance contract for patching surfaces throughout the county.

Hudson said the county received one bid, from Shepherd Paving.

“The bid is at $4 per square foot for patching,” Hudson said.

The assistant county manager said it would allow the county the opportunity to do a lot more patchwork as well as improve the quality of the patching.

“We asked the board to approve this annual general maintenance patching bid for Shepherd Paving,” Hudson said. “That includes materials and labor.”

Commissioners voted unanimously to approve the recommendation.

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