The county will rebid a contract for the repair of the mason work and replacement of the mortar on the old Brown County Jail, now the county’s museum.

Commissioners heard a report from Ronnie Lappe, president of the Brown County Historical Commission, who said the repair work that was to begin in March had not been started. Lappe said his understanding was Roy Pannell, who had been awarded a $24,000 contract for the repair work, was working on a mall project in Oklahoma and would not be returning to Brown County “any time soon.”

But Lappe also said his understanding was that because the $24,000 was budgeted in the 2006-’07 fiscal year, the job would need to be done by Oct. 1. He introduced Michael Lucero, with the Bangs-based Lucero Masonry, who said he would have time to repair the two walls with the most deterioration before Oct. 1, but would have to wait until after that time and possibly until early 2008 to finish the other two walls.

Lucero told commissioners he felt Pannell had underbid the job, however, and he would require $16,500 for the north and east walls, which were the most deteriorated. He doubted he could complete the other two walls and stay within the $24,000 budgeted, he said.

Brown County Judge Ray West said as he understands the state’s requirement for bidding, if the total cost of the job was to exceed $25,000, the job would have to be rebid. West excused himself from the court to seek clarification from County Attorney Shane Britton.

Britton told the court his interpretation was to seek new bids.

Rebidding the job would be “the safe thing to do,” Britton said. Otherwise, it would appear the county was giving preferential treatment to a supplier.

“It only takes 30 days to rebid the job, and if it’s been delayed this long, I don’t see why the 30 days will make that much difference,” Britton said.

Lucero told the court in his opinion the building was “in pretty good shape, considering.”

“The repairs should be made, sooner than later, but it would actually be better to do the four walls at the same time,” he said.

Lucero said the most expensive part of the repair job was to arrange for the scaffolding that would be required, and warned the court bids come in much higher than the $24,000. Larry Nix, visiting the court and a member of the county historical commission, asked if he could address the court, and explained Pannell had thought he could get the scaffolding donated.

“If it’s not donated, it is going to cost more,” Nix said.

“There are certain OSHA standards that have to be met with the scaffolding,” Lucero said. “The company I’ve talked to would be coming from Austin, and we’re estimating the scaffolding will be about a third of the total cost of the job.”