The Gloucester County Board of Supervisors voted 4-3 Tuesday night during its meeting in the colonial courthouse to set a $1 million budget for renovations to the Thomas Calhoun Walker Educational Center.
Supervisors John Northstein (Petsworth), Andy James (Ware) and Ashley Chriscoe (at-large) voted against setting the $1 million budget.
Gloucester’s purchasing manager Bill Lindsey advised the county to establish a budget for the project so that when the lowest bidder is identified, he can negotiate down with a willing bidder toward that budget.
According to Lindsey, without a previously established budget for the project, if the project comes in above the amount the county is willing to commit, the bids have to be rejected, and the process starts all over again.
The budget had to have been established prior to the bid opening, which is Feb. 5.
James said it is unfair to the business people to take their time to go through the bidding process when the county has still not decided what it wants done at the center. "I just want paint and cubicles for the school board to put its offices in," he said. "Now it looks like we’re getting ready to bid the whole project."
He went on to say that he is not in favor of constructing a new school and repairing an old school at the same time. "It’s not fair to the citizens," James said.
At-large supervisor Louise Theberge first mentioned the $1 million figure. "It doesn’t mean we have to appropriate it or we have to spend it," she said.