County to restart Keokuk EMS bidding process

County may not have advertised project enough


LEE COUNTY – County officials are poised to start over with a construction project in Keokuk.

The Lee County Board of Supervisors had previously hired AC Contracting out of Keokuk to be the construction manager for a new EMS ambulance bay near the corner of 16th and Blondeau, but that move could be rescinded Monday.

On the agenda for the Board of Supervisors meeting is discussion and possible action to wipe out the previous hiring and hire an engineer to design the building.

The county would then solicit bids for the construction of the EMS facility after designs have been prepared.

Supervisor Tom Schulz said the county may not have properly followed advertising for the work last month and, at the direction of Lee County Attorney Ross Braden, are looking at restarting the process.

Supervisors are hoping to get the new facility built for less than $1 million. It’s the second project aimed at upgrading the EMS properties, the first such upgrades since purchasing the service in 2021.

The county is ready to finalize plans for the new Lee County Health Department, which will likely have a new Fort Madison EMS bay attached to the building. Carl A. Nelson Co. is the general contractor for that project. Discussion on those construction plans is also on the agenda for Monday’s meeting.

Schulz said there were some inconsistencies in what he heard from AC Contracting’s Wes Ames during the interview process for the construction manager, what he heard in February, and what he had heard in an update Monday as far as charges associated with the work.

“This is not the same conversation we had two weeks ago,” Schulz said Monday.

Upon reviewing the initial proposal with Braden, Schulz said it became apparent the county didn’t advertise the work in enough publications statewide, and didn’t score the interview processes. On that realization, it was recommended the board scrap the hire and restart the process to make sure all requirements are met.

In an unrelated issue, the board will also vote to rescind a motion to hire seasonal employees in the Lee County Conservation department due to an error in how the positions were being funded. The board is still planning to hire the staff under a different funding mechanism.

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