Bay County commissioners are moving forward with plans for an alternate water supply for the county. The original plan was to drill a series of emergency wells in northern Bay County, but Sand Hills residents and south Washington County successfully challenged the proposal.
Commissioners have selected a contractor to begin building another source of water for the county. Five companies competed for contract, but only one will take part in a project that's been in talks for some time.
Deer Point Lake provides drinking water for most Bay County residents. It's also home to the county's only water pumping station.
"If we should have a problem with Deer Point reservoir either with salt water intrusion or some criminal activity to pollute the water there. Certainly we need to have a fallback, fail safe back up," said Guy Tunnell, District 4 Commissioner.
County commissioners heard from five different companies on why they should be selected as the county's contractor for the project. Those companies included Brassfield & Gorrie, CPH/Western Summit, Garney Companies, Phoenix Construction, and Polyengineering & J.P. Construction.
After a tally of votes, commissioners chose Phoenix Construction as their top choice for the estimated $25 million project.
"We think we can do the job professionally, we think we can do it more economically than any of the other teams because we were the only team with 100% local participation," said Ted Schoppe with Phoenix Construction.
Something commissioners like Tunnell say got their vote.
"We've taken a strong stand about developing businesses and encouraging local businesses and I think this goes a long way in that regard," said Tunnell.
Now that the county has selected a contractor for the alternate water supply, they can soon start construction on the north side of Deer Point Lake.
Company representatives promise to hire 95% of their workers from Bay County for the project.
If not, they will deduct one million dollars from the contract with the county.
"I think it's important that we took this step. I think it will ensure that we continue to have quality water sources for our community and certainly in the case of a catastrophic situation. I think we'll be in good shape," said Tunnell.
Commissioners also chose CPH/Western Summit as an alternate if an agreement can't be met with Phoenix Construction.