The Jefferson County Board of Commissioners is searching for more bidders to compete for a county-city rehabilitation project.

The project, which will provide renovations to 18 houses in the city and county, is funded by a $400,000 federal grant approved to assist low- to moderate-income families.

The county reviewed bids for eight locations on Friday, receiving interest from just four area contractors. Of the eight properties reviewed, two locations had the most interest with three bids, five homes had one or two bids and one property had no bids.

The bidders included Ol' House Experts, Demaree Building and Remodeling, Jackson Construction LLC and Pettitt Group Inc.

"Some of these are good, and some of these are a lot higher than expected," said Patty Jackson, special projects manager at the Southern Indiana Regional Planning Commission.

Jackson said she will request bid approval for a few of the properties at the next commissioner's meeting on March 20 but expects some rebids.

Jackson said she would like to see more competition in the bidding process partly because she is wary of having one contractor handle multiple projects because of the grant's strict time requirements.

The entire rehab project must be completed by November 2014. Once a bid is approved, the contractor has 90 days to complete the renovations at the property.

While the project is a joint effort of the city of Madison and Jefferson County, the county is the lead applicant, making the Board of Commissioners responsible for approving the contracts.

Following each project's completion, a three-year lien will be placed on the property. In that time, the owner must maintain the location as a permanent residence or face repaying a prorated portion of the renovation costs.

Jackson said the average cost for one location will be between $20,000 and $23,000, though some properties vary.

She expects to hear bids on the remaining properties in May.

In other business:

• Sherry Surrett was honored for her 10 years of volunteer service at the Jefferson County Animal Shelter. Commissioner President Mark Cash said Surrett contributes about a 1,000 hours of her time to the shelter each year.

• The commissioners approved using the Hanover Parks Building as a polling location for the 2014 primary and general elections. The parks building will replace Hanover Town Hall as a polling site because the first floor of town hall was renovated to house the police department.

• The commissioners allowed the Pilot Club to again use the sidewalk and parking space around the Courthouse for the spring Old Court Days, which is scheduled from May 23-24. Linda McDaniels said vendors will begin setting up for the event after 6 p.m. on May 22.