A May 1, 2020 letter from Wicomico County Council Attorney Bob Taylor, included in the June 2nd Briefing Book, suggests that the Municipal Water Extension to the Salisbury Airport, the Beaver Run Elementary School Construction Project, and Phase 3 of the Westside Collector Road project are all in jeopardy. Mr. Taylor’s argument centers around the concern that Wicomico County does not have a legitimate Director of Finance, which presents a problem when the County needs to issues bonds or certify the availability of funds for large scale projects such as school construction or infrastructure projects.
Mr. Taylor writes the following in this letter:
“It appears that at least two contracts, described below, have been bid for the water main extension project:
1. Construction, for which the announced low bid was $3,705,465. Whether the low bidder was awarded the contract is unknown. However, according to the County website, the contract was awarded on June 25, 2019. Because there were insufficient funds on hand at that time to cover the contract price, the contract appears to be “null and void” under Charter section 711, which requires that “no payment shall be made nor any obligation or liability incurred, unless the Director of Finance shall first certify that funds for the designated purpose are available” and that “any contract, verbal or written, made in violation of this section, shall be null and void.”
2. Inspection services during construction, for which no bid amounts or a contract award has been disclosed. Thus, whether that contract, if it has been awarded, is also “null and void” under Charter section 711 is unclear.
There may be other costs as well such as to acquire easements, etc. Whatever the total costs of this project may be, sufficient funds for the project have not been appropriated”.