The Board of Commissioners has awarded a construction bid for a drainage overhaul project at Audubon Park housing division to Sedam Contracting.

The commissioners voted 2-0, with Bob Little absent, to select the Hanover company, which submitted the lowest bid of $475,000 with deductions.

But while a contractor has been chosen for the work, the board plans to negotiate in an effort to lower the project scope and cost.

Colby King, of design firm FPBH Inc., said Sedam's bid would still put the county $26,000 over budget. The project will be funded through a $500,000 federal grant, about $449,000 of which is slated for construction costs.

King presented the commissioners with a list of additional deductions Friday that would help lower the project costs by almost $18,000. He said he felt the revisions would still provide the area will a solid solution to its long-standing drainage problems.

The commissioners noted that scaling back the project too much would be counter-productive.

"We'd like to make it come out on budget, but we don't want to jeopardize the whole project," said board president Tom Pietrykowski.

Before approving the bid, the commissioners were torn between accepting Sedam's offer and requesting additional funding, which could have taken up to 90 days and only covered half of the additional expenses.

Neither King nor the commissioners believed the other option - rebidding the project - was the right move because the county could risk a long delay, causing Sedam's offer to possibly expire.

"I don't want to delay it," Commissioner Mark Cash said. "These people are in a bad flood plain out there."

In other business:

• Attorney Jason Pattison presented a petition for the county to vacate Center Street, which connects Ohio and Illinois avenues next to Lowe's Home Improvement. The property is owned by Terry Crank, owner and operator of Terry's Heating & Cooling. Crank paves and maintains the area himself.

Pattison asked the county to vacate the property, but noted that the petition would grant the county an easement for access to utility lines, which run under the paved roadway.

He also said the alley would stay open and accessible to home owners in the area.

"We have zero intention of closing this. What we want to do is maintain it just as you see it," said Pattison, who was representing Crank.

The commissioners asked Pattison to provide a specific location of all utility lines located on the property before it takes a vote on the petition.

• Sheriff John Wallace reported that the jail's population skyrocketed to 152 inmates during the Regatta weekend. It remained at 141 on Friday.