CHARLESTON, W.Va. – This is a story about an unsuccessful bill.
During last week's special session for the House of Delegates, the governor asked various questions on the call.
One Bill relating to tenders for contracts for building work carried out as part of disaster relief or recovery. The bill would allow for open-ended contracts in these cases.
But when legislators began to examine the bill, they completed more questions than answers.
They questioned whether the open nature of the application would have unintended consequences. They also thought the proposed bill actually addressed the problem.
“Is this the crisis solved with this bill,” asked Delegate Dean Jeffries, R-Kanawha, “or do we have another crisis?” T
Today, a third of the devastating flood events around the country, Virginia is always an area where there are difficulties.
The state drew $ 149 million from the US Department of Housing and Urban Development to provide housing after a flood on 23 June 2016.
HUD of West Virginia continues to be listed as a slow guardian, naming the speed towards the grant closure. Of the original drawdown, $ 134,975,882 is still left at West Virginia.
To date the state has only completed 51 houses from over 400 cases. Three of the completed houses were “stuck,” built on the site, while the others were mobile homes.
Initially there were three housing contractors at the state, but now there is only one active.
Danhill Construction has fallen since the last fall. The Appalachia Service Project, which built up the three stick-built houses, impacted on contracts and is drawing on that role.
Thompson Construction left as the only contractor still going. The mobile homes have been planted by Thompson.
“I think you are, as you are, void,” said Jeffries, co-chair of the Floods Joint Legislation Committee. “I want many weeks what the status of the Appalachia Service Project is. After speaking directly to them, they are waiting to build houses for the RISE program.
“Asking our RISE officers, they say it is a problem with the contract. I'm not sure that the problem is entirely. I think we need to look at a way of introducing more contractors to expand the capacity of the houses that can be built. ”
The proposed bill to address construction during disaster relief was assigned last week to the House Judges Committee. He was then assigned to a joint sub-committee with members of the Judiciary plus members of the flood committee.
Both committees discussed the bill for a few hours but did not take any action, stating that more work needed to be done to refine it.
“I have concerns about the open leg, the open-ended treaty,” said Messenger Barbara Fleischauer, D-Monongalia. “We are opening ourselves until we are ripped off.”
The written bill refers to work arising from a declared state of preparedness or emergency.
Tenders for construction may be “open-ended while the open nature of the contract is revealed in prospecting and the nature of the work generally to be completed is recognized and recognized in a manner that is appropriate. allows fair and competitive offers. ”
Buildings are not only houses in the report but also roads or highways.
James Meadows, a general advocate for West Virginia Purchasing Division, said that the flood rehabilitation effort must be able to move faster with more housing projects.
“What would let us do is go out to offer a group of houses much more,” said Meadows.
At the moment, he said, householders coming to them must go through a full case management process before they come to an end in a group of about 10 bidding houses.
“The amount of time you meet is a significant time and 100 per cent is certified and able to get a home,” he said.
“The first thing you do is on-going offers of small supplies for houses. This takes more time. ”
The Messenger Jeffries did not dispute that, but said that the problems seem to go beyond what was being reported.
“When this bill was presented, it seemed urgent, to pass this bill to get houses now,” he said. “I do not think that this is really a problem now.
“I understand that this bill is needed and we must streamline the purchasing process, but say that this is the problem of keeping things up now – I think we have more problems with our agreements with contractors or with the how they are repaid. I think we need to look at that, rather than passing a bill quickly that the problem could not solve. ”
The proposal could have unintended consequences, said Steve Connolly, general counsel to the State Auditor.
“This is a very sweeping bill,” said Connolly as he addressed the joint sub-committee.
He said that there was a danger that contractors would be placed on the front side, knowing that the agreement could proceed permanently.
“Have we created a huge power grab for state officials or local officials to be able to circumvent a right tender process?” Connolly asked.
Delegates Rodney Miller, D-Boone, also raised questions about the open nature of the proposal.
“There are many concerns about whether things are opening down the road causing more problems,” he said. “We need to get more people back in their own homes quicker, but do we want to open up the code to different situations that are quicker without what most people need? scrutiny?
“We can only give one person free of charge to any entity, including ourselves, as they consider necessary without a certain balance as we are dealing with the public finances.”
The Delegate House adjourned the day after the bill was discussed without any action.
Miller referred the matter to one question.
“What are we trying to fix?”