Down economy saving Wood County tax payers big bucks

By Lauren Lowrey - bio | email 

Posted by LS - email

WOOD COUNTY (WTOL) - For residents of Wood County, your tax dollars are going farther. It's all because of competition among local businesses.

The concrete is pouring, and the trucks are moving. The one difference at this construction site is the price. "The estimate was $618,000. The low bid came in at $396,000," said Jerry Greiner director of the NW Water & Sewer District.

Greiner says replacing sewer pipe for First Solar's $100-million expansion was supposed to cost a lot more. Recent competition in this tough economy has changed the game.

"We had 11 bids. Normally we don't see but 5, 6, 7 bids. But in this economy, folks are coming literally from all over Ohio to bid on a project that's relatively small for a government," Greiner explains.

Before bidding out a project, officials at Wood County estimate how much a project will cost. From there, the job is posted on a web site ready for businesses to bid. In the last few months, bids have been extremely competitive, often proposing quotes slightly above cost.

To Wood County commissioners, it's a welcome change. "Obviously the contractors want to keep their workers employed and busy and are willing to take a little less home in their paychecks to be able to continue to work," said Commissioner Tim Brown.

Another one of the projects that came in lower than estimated cost is a replacement fan to push air throughout the office building at the court house. The cost was expected to be $175,000, but the contract price is now at $148,000 - a savings of more than $30,000.

Any savings of tax dollars is essential. Rising unemployment and foreclosures mean a loss of revenue for Wood County. A dollar saved will be quickly allocated elsewhere. "We're constantly looking at the details in our budget and trying to find ways to pay for it," Brown said.