After a month of talks between Sutter County’s insurers and local construction company Hilbers, Inc., county supervisors will look to make a decision today on the best way forward for a project to reconstruct Casa de Esperanza’s facility that was heavily damaged by fire in 2016.
The options supervisors will consider at their board meeting include awarding a $1.4 million bid to Hilbers to do the work or go back out to bid in hopes of finding a cheaper alternative. County supervisors were ready to approve the bid a month ago, but the county’s insurers from Trindel Insurance Fund raised concerns that the bid was too high – more than two times what they estimated – and that there was a chance the county would be liable for some of the reconstruction costs.
County officials directed all of the involved parties to work on a compromise in the meantime to prevent having to re-advertise the project. The board will be updated on those talks today.
Ahead of the board’s last meeting two weeks ago, Hilbers had agreed to decrease the original bid down to $1.255 million, but the insurance broker said without an itemized breakdown of how they came up with their estimate, it’s hard to agree to reimburse the county in full without first going back out to bid. At the time, Trindel verbally agreed to reimburse up to $1.1 million, but even then it would leave the county with a financial shortfall of about $155,000, and that number could ultimately grow depending on any change orders that come in during the actual project.
Portions of Casa’s building were destroyed in an April 2016 fire that has caused the nonprofit organization that provides services and shelter to local victims of domestic violence, sexual assault and child abuse to relocate to a temporary facility provided by Adventist Health and Rideout. That temporary stay has lasted three years, and Casa representatives say any further delays in reconstruction of their headquarters will jeopardize the organization moving forward.
If the parties could not come to an agreement and the board decides to re-advertise the project, officials have expressed an interest in scheduling a special meeting next week to officially reject the bid and solicit another round of bidders to expedite the process as much as possible. The bidding process will take at least a month to complete.
Today’s meeting is scheduled for 3 p.m. inside the Board of Supervisors Chambers at the Hall of Records building – 466 Second St., Yuba City.