Parks Board again recommends Council adopt restroom bid

The City of Liberty Hill’s Parks & Recreation Board voted during a special meeting last week to recommend the City Council approve a bid from North Shore Homes to build a restroom facility at City Park.

It was the second time the Board has taken such a vote, and the second time North Shore Homes has been recommended.

The first time the Board asked the Council to approve the company’s $84,000 bid, it was rejected. Councilman Sammy Pruett suggested the price was too high and a local company could do it for less. He made a motion that the project be advertised for bids again.

Months later, only North Shore Homes expressed interest in the job and submitted the same bid as the first time.

Board member Deborah Soja expressed concern that the second recommendation might also be questioned by the Council.

“They want 50 percent (down payment) and that didn’t fly last time,” she said. “I think that has to be taken out before it goes to the City Council.”

Board Chairman Gregg Evans said the 50 percent payment “wasn’t a deal breaker” for the company, adding that he thought it would accept 10 percent. “We shouldn’t let that stop us from choosing them.”

Williamson County, which is funding the project with a grant to the City of Liberty Hill, typically pays upon project completion. However, Evans said if the City writes a check for a partial payment, the County can reimburse it, “but Liberty Hill may not be able to do that (write a check for that amount).” Ten percent of the total bid would be about $8,400.

Board member Liz Branigan, who abstained from voting, said her son’s business partner expressed an interest to the City in bidding on the project, but was told by someone at City Hall that it would be a “conflict of interest.”

Mayor Jamie Williamson was in attendance at the Parks Board meeting August 2, but made no comments.

The item is expected to be placed on the City Council’s agenda for its regular meeting August 13.

In other business last week, the Board voted to recommend that the Council choose the least expensive option to run electricity to the restroom facility.

Board member Michael Wilson said the cost will be about $4,000 less if the City uses overhead lines to run power to the building as opposed to underground wiring.

He said only one pole would be required and it would be placed in a location that was not a safety risk to children.

The Board also discussed the possibility of adding a short fence around the new playscape at the park. The protective fence would keep younger children from leaving the play area.

The playscape, which was constructed last month, was funded by a grant from Williamson County.

“We should be finished with the playscape project,” said Evans. “There is interest in the Parks Board all of a sudden because we got something done, finally.”

All members of the Board were present for the special meeting last week. There are two vacancies on the seven-member panel.

The Board will hold its regular meeting on August 21.