By Conrad Dudderar
Senior Staff Writer
A highly competitive bid process has led to a lower-than-expected $15.24 million maximum cost for the Canadian County fairgrounds’ construction project.
Canadian County Commissioners, meeting Monday morning as trustees of the Canadian County Public Facilities Authority (CCPFA), awarded bids to subcontractors for 31 trade packages for the new fairgrounds complex. The 50-acre site is at Jensen and Alfadale roads near El Reno.
Total guaranteed maximum price is $14,257,674 for the proposed expo center, arena, maintenance building, site work, and parking. The December 2019 cost estimate was $14,622,000 million.
Total guaranteed maximum price is $984,458 for the proposed stall barn, which trustees have agreed to include in this phase one construction. The December 2019 cost estimate was $1,520,000.
Combined maximum price is about $900,000 below the estimates from six months ago.
Subcontractors recently submitted bids on 31 trade packages that included everything from masonry, structural concrete and paving to flooring, fire suppression and plumbing. Most had multiple bidders.
“We did receive great coverage from sub-contractors,” said Stan Lingo, owner of construction manager Lingo Construction. “Great coverage results in good bids for the county.”
At Lingo’s recommendation, CCPFA trustees awarded bids to the low bidder on most of the 31 trade packages. Exceptions were for site utilities and waterproofing, which went to the second-place bidders.
Lingo initially said he’d wait a week or two to make five bid recommendations so county officials could decide whether to include the stall barn and finalize the water supply.
CCPFA trustees agreed Monday to build the stall barn during this phase.
Trustee David Anderson pointed to the revenues the new county fairgrounds’ facilities would generate.
County commissioners, as CCPFA trustees, are using Canadian County use tax collections to fund the fairgrounds construction.
While encouraged by the sub-contractors’ bid numbers, authority Chairman Marc Hader shared concerns about financing the new fairgrounds while keeping costs down.
Trustees have established an “internal rule” that project costs will not exceed 60 percent of average monthly use tax revenues.
Canadian County’s use tax has generated an average of $134,488 for each of the last six months, financial advisor Ben Oglsbee told trustees. Sixty percent of that amount is $80,693.
Monthly debt service for the new fairgrounds complex (with the stall barn) from June 2020 to July 2021 would be $68,570 and the “maximum” debt service would be $79,369, according to Oglsbee.
“I have no concerns regarding (use tax) coverage or meeting your 60 percent internal rule,” he told trustees.
The stall barn can be added to the fairgrounds project and the total cost would stay below the 60 percent limit, Chairman Hader noted.
Use tax is a tax on goods purchased in another state for use in the taxing state, in lieu of local sales tax. Use tax applies to purchases made outside the taxing jurisdiction but used within the state.
Use tax revenues have declined significantly this year in Canadian County largely because of a decrease in oil and gas activity, but the financial advisor has seen indications it “may be at a bottom”.
The June use tax and sales tax distributions from the Oklahoma Tax Commission “will probably be bad” because they will reflect April business impacted by the COVID-19 “lockdown,” Oglsbee added.
A 2-1/2 percent construction “contingency” is included in the cost estimate, Lingo reminded trustees.
If any of these funds are not used for the project, they will be returned to the county.