Saginaw County looking to give boost to local firms following animal shelter project contract

Lansing firm gets construction manager contract for new animal care facility
Published: Feb. 19, 2021 at 6:01 PM EST
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SAGINAW, Mich. (WJRT) - A new Saginaw County animal control center is one step closer to being built.

But there’s a little controversy.

The county has selected a Lansing company to manage the construction project

The 6-5 vote may also change the way the county awards contracts in the future.

“We are very disappointed in the vote, however we understand why the Saginaw County Board of Commissioners voted the way they did,” says Veronica Horn, CEO and president of the Saginaw County Chamber of Commerce.

That disappointing vote for Horn was the county board’s 6-5 vote to award Granger Construction out of Lansing the contract to be the construction manager for the new animal shelter. Two Saginaw area companies finished second and third.

“We feel that we have more than highly qualified, local Saginaw County or Great Lakes Bay Region contractors that are able to build those things that Saginaw County taxpayers paid for,” says Horn.

Taxpayers did approve an $11.4 million millage for the animal shelter in 2018. County commission chairman Carl Ruth was one of the six votes for Granger.

“You have a home basketball game, the home crowd gives you a little lift, but sometimes the home team still loses,” says Ruth.

Ruth says commissioners will take a look at updating the scoring system when awarding large projects like this, a point system that rates experience, qualifications, safety, and other factors but doesn’t award any points for being a local company.

Ruth believes the County Services Committee recommendation for Granger also included this key factor.

“One of the reasons that they emphasized Granger, because Granger had just built two animal shelter projects recently,” says Ruth.

Horn is hoping the county commissioners decide to start awarding a few points for local companies in the bid process.

“Our local contractors hire locally, they keep their money in the community, that should count for something,” says Horn.

So, when will construction start on the new animal shelter?

County controller Robert Belleman is hoping for an August groundbreaking.

An 18-month construction schedule would mean the new building might be open in early 2023.

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