County Commission approves more than $2 million in contracts for replacement of grandstands at fairgrounds

Cascade County Commissioners approved more than $2 million worth of contracts during a special meeting Monday for demolition and replacement of the grandstands at the fairgrounds.

Commissioners approved a $72,867 contract to Shumaker Trucking and Excavating for the demolition and removal of the existing grandstands. According to the contract documents, that work should be completed by Aug. 22.

County has special meeting Monday to consider grandstand demolition and replacement contracts

Commissioners also approved a $2.287 million contract to Montana School Equipment Company for the design and construction of a new set of stadium bleachers at the fairgrounds. The contract also includes the concrete foundation and dirt work under the grandstands and for additional site work.

According to the contract documents, the work should be completed by Dec. 31.

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The cost for the new bleachers were higher than originally anticipated, commissioners said, because of geotechnical work that was needed and steel prices.

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“It’s not a Cadillac,” but it’s a comprehensive design that suits the county well, said Brian Clifton, county public works director.

Weather may also be a factor in the schedule since the county is waiting until after this summer’s fair to start work and plans to be completed in time for next summer’s fair.

The county has submitted an application for a $2 million intercap loan through the Montana Board of Investment, which meets May 22 to consider the request.

Commissioner Joe Briggs said he was concerned about approving the project before the loan was finalized, but was comfortable with the process to develop the plans and bids.

Commissioner Jane Weber said she also preferred to have loans squared away before approving contracts, but said she feels comfortable the loan will be approved.

“It’s a weird dynamic” for the timeframe around the fair, Weber said.

The county’s intercap loan documents were submitted April 20 for $2 million with the county planning to cover $200,000. That was based on early project estimates, according to Mary Embleton, the county budget officer.

The requested loan is a 10-year term and is non-voted debt that will be repaid from the general fund.

The county’s debt capacity is 2.5 percent of the total market value of everything in the county, based on Department of Revenue assessments. The last assessment set that value at $8,417,257,317, according to DoR documents. That means the county has a $210 million debt capacity, Embleton said.

The county’s current debt is $2.057 million, most of that is the courthouse replacement project and the remainder of debt on the expansion of the public works facility. That debt will be paid off by the end of the current fiscal year, Embleton said.