INDIAN RIVER COUNTY — Despite concern by county staff of setting a dangerous precedent, the Board of County Commissioners voted to pre-pay Ranger Construction for the sand it will be trucking as part of the beach restoration project.
The commissioners voted 4-1 to pay Ranger Construction $275,160 for the 36,000 cubic yards of sand needed to complete Phase 1 of the project and a figure to be determined for Phase II. Commissioner Bob Solari was the lone dissenting vote.
County staff raised concern that paying for construction material before the start of a project put the county on a slippery slope, explaining that if the mine went bankrupt the county would not be able to obtain the product for which it had already paid.
An objection was also raised that the county would be paying sooner than stipulated in the contract – payment is supposed to occur after the sand was trucked and graded on the beach. The county would have earned interest on that money.
However, it was determined, based on the current interest rates, the lost opportunity for the Phase 1 money represented about $700.
It is costing the county $15.56 per cubic yard to test, truck and grade sand from Ranch Road mine and Fischer mine, with the bulk of the sand coming from the former. Ranch Road will be pre-paid $7.50 per cubic yard for its sand and Fischer $6.16 for the sand it stockpiles.
Phase 1 of the project to replenish 6.5 miles of beach between Treasure Shores Beach Park and Indian River Shores was halted on May 7 this year when turtle nesting season began with 36,700 cubic yards of sand still to be distributed.
The project was stopped with Golden Sands, Sanderling and some sections of Orchid yet to be completed. The county expects to receive a notice to proceed from the state on Nov. 3 and the work to begin on Dec. 1. Golden Sands Beach will be closed the three weeks while the Phase I job is being completed.
The county also expects to receive approval by the beginning of December to start work on the second phase of the project. However, they will wait to begin distributing the trucked-in sand until Feb. 1 of 2011.
The second phase of the project will distribute 267,000 cubic yards of sand on a 2.2 mile stretch of beach from Seaview south to Golden Sands Park.
Indian River County Public Works Director Chris Mora has told the commissioners that the state must sign off that the Phase 1 work did not adversely affect the sea turtle population and that the Phase 2 sand is suitable for placement on the beach before work can begin.