Commissioners talk money, ethics while considering renewing cons - WFXG FOX54 Augusta - Your News One Hour Earlier

Commissioners talk money, ethics while considering renewing construction contract

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The contract for Heery International, a construction company, ends in July and they aren't finished with several SPLOST projects in Augusta, including renovating the municipal building.

Heery officials have asked commissioners to renew their contract but some commissioners are questioning continuing the contract because it means paying them an additional $1.6 million.

District seven Commissioner Donnie Smith says he would vote to extend the contract if the terms change.

"I would like for them to have a few more concessions toward their total price, their bottom line price," Smith, said.

If the contract with Heery International can't be negotiated then the city will give other construction companies the chance to bid on the SPLOST projects.

Grady Smith, the Commissioner for district 10, says he doesn't think that's a good idea.

 "I think it's mighty dangerous to change horses in the middle of the stream when you're talking about the amount of money we are and the kind of projects," he said.

Heery officials in Atlanta say they need a contract extension because a lawsuit from an Augusta construction company delayed their work on the municipal building for a year.

During Monday's committee meeting, Commissioners also discussed receiving money and tickets to Atlanta Falcons' games from the construction company.

District five Commissioner Bill Lockett, who has received campaign money from Heery International, says the benefits of working with the group don't influence his opinion.

"It's up to you as the individual to have good quality ethics and do the right thing," said Lockett.

Heery officials say they've complied with state laws when they've donated to commissioners.

Most commissioners agreed that money not ethics is the main issue they're dealing with.

Heery International is asking for an extra $1.6 million or a 1.5% increase over the next two years. The contract allows them to ask for an additional 4%.

Heery officials and commissioners say they're willing to negotiate.

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