Contractor selected for transit hub

Planned transit hub and customer service/dispatch facility located at 142 NE E St in Grants Pass. (Courtesy photo for the Illinois Valley News)

The Josephine County Transit Department selected Outlier Construction, LLC as the contractor to construct the planned transit hub and customer service/dispatch facility located at 142 NE E St in Grants Pass. Outlier submitted the lowest bid at $1,476,600; the engineered estimate for the project was calculated to be $1,553,013.
At the Jan. 25 JoCo Board of Commissioners’ meeting, held at Anne G. Basker Auditorium in Grants Pass, Transit Supervisor Scott Chancey discussed the contract with Outlier and asked the board to sign off on it.
Board Chair Herman Baertschiger remarked, “We’ve been working on this for a long time,” before inviting Chancey to begin his presentation.
“So finally, we’ve advanced this project to where we’re actually ready to begin,” Chancey said. “After the trials and tribulations of getting our federal funds and design work and approval, we made it.”
Chancey recounted that the project was put out for bid in December. JCT verified that Outlier was vetted through the System for Award Management and is certified to work alongside the Department of Transportation using federal dollars.
The contract has been approved by legal counsel and is accounted for in the 2022-2023 budget. The project will also stretch into the 2023-2024 fiscal year. A local match paid by the county will ultimately be determined by the county-owned land project.
The commissioners had no questions for Chancey following his remarks, saying they had been thoroughly briefed on the contract at past sessions.
The vote to approve the contract with Outlier was 2-0, with Baertschiger and Commissioner John West voting in the affirmative, while Commissioner Dan DeYoung was absent from the meeting.
During requests and comments from citizens, Dorothy Yetter spoke about the importance of volunteers who offer free tax preparation services, and warned the commissioners that the number of volunteers has been declining in recent years.
“I just want to make the commissioners aware that over the past four years, local volunteers providing free tax preparation have brought in almost $6 million to low and middle income people in the community,” said Yetter. With tax season kicking off this week, Yetter wanted the public to know, “Our ranks have decreased significantly in my 12 years of volunteering. Fewer volunteers mean steadily decreasing refund dollars.”
Yetter also advised, “It takes about a month for a person who is motivated to become a preparer… That’ll give us more volunteers so we can help more people. We’re hoping to increase by about 50% over last year.”
Victor Zaitsev wanted to discuss transparency in government, urging the commissioners to hold public testimony at the very start of meetings rather than late in the agenda so individuals seeking to speak who struggle to attend meetings due to their schedules don’t have to wait as long to be heard.
“Unfortunately, the pace and schedule of agenda items is very unpredictable and there can often be a lengthy wait for one’s turn at the podium,” Zaitsev said. “It’s one thing to say that there’s a desire to have the public participate in the operation of county government, but then set things up that foster exclusion in the process.”
Julie Hartford spoke on behalf of a new local citizens’ group seeking to alleviate the homelessness problem. She announced they had recently chosen a name for their group: PATH Task Force. According to Hartford, PATH is an acronym for Partners Assisting The Homeless.
“We have over 70 volunteers so far and the group’s mission is to help people transition out of homelessness and create a safer, healthier community for all,” remarked Hartford. She added that PATH’s first order of business is learning about other homeless-oriented organizations in the community and identifying ways they can collaborate with them.