For a second time, Surfside Beach Town Council voted to award a contract for construction of a new, revamped pier.
This time around, however, town leaders voted to award a bid to Consensus Construction & Consulting, Inc. The company and two other bidding parties have vied for the contract.
“This is a big step forward for the town,” councilman David Pellegrino said.
Consensus submitted a $14.65 million bid — the lowest base bid presented by any of the three parties.
The company also submitted an alternate price tag of $13.15 million, the lowest alternative proposed by any of the bidders.
Councilwoman Cindy Keating said the alternate option includes steel and concrete as opposed to just concrete. She said the town must now work on drafting and negotiating the contract, choosing which design to go with and naming a project manager.
Additionally, she said officials should look at possible tweaks that would reduce the project’s cost.
Officials voted to award a contract to Consensus unanimously at Tuesday’s town council meeting.
The company’s headquarters is in Horry County, according to its website. It will subcontract Intercoastal Marine for marine-related work and Melton Electric for electrical work.
Mayor Bob Hellyer said he hopes construction will start by mid-October. Once it begins, officials expect it to take an estimated 16 to 18 months to complete.
“Hopefully we can get the pier built as soon as possible,” councilman Paul Holder said.
Surfside Beach leaders said the town should be able to complete the project without a tax increase.
On July 1, a controversial 3-2 vote saw town officials award a bid to Orion Marine Group and FBi Construction, but officials later decided to rescind that vote. Town leaders have said the town’s rules had been violated because the bid information was not advertised in a newspaper.
That day, council members Debbie Scoles, David Pellegrino and Paul Holder voted in favor, and Keating and Hellyer voted in opposition.
Keating, Hellyer and councilman Michael Drake then filed a lawsuit against the three who voted in favor that day and the town which claims the July 1 vote was unlawful because it violated the state’s Freedom of Information Act.
Hellyer has said the decision to rescind the original July 1 vote had nothing to do with the lawsuit.
The current pier was heavily damaged in 2016 because of Hurricane Matthew.
The Federal Emergency Management Agency agreed to grant the town more than $9 million for the project.
In the future, Keating said she would like the town to discuss saving boards and other items for folks to keep as memorabilia.
“This has been quite the project, but the hard work starts now,” she said.