The Bartholomew County Commissioners might have needlessly spent thousands of dollars Monday, commissioner Carl Lienhoop said.

But they will not know for sure until a few decades from now, he said.

Lienhoop was referring to the approval of a contract with a 30-year warranty to replace the roof on the Bartholomew County Governmental Office building at Third and Franklin streets.

In the lowest of three bids opened Dec. 26, Foster Contracting LLC of Greenwood offered the commissioners two options: a roof replacement with a 20-year warranty for $112,000 or a 30-year warranty for $122,000.

After the more expensive option was chosen Monday, audience member Chuck Doup asked whether that was wise, considering that no one knows if the Johnson County firm will remain in business 30 years from now.

While Lienhoop agreed Doup made a valid point, the commissioners have expressed more concern about not repeating the same mistake made 15 years ago when the roof was last replaced.

With substandard workmanship and lack of a long-term warranty, the roof failed several years earlier than expected and cost county government more to replace, commissioner Larry Kleinhenz said.

In late November, Lienhoop said the county might have “gotten taken a little bit” during the last roof replacement.

“It’s possible we could be throwing away $10,000,” Lienhoop said Monday. “But there would be more people giving us the devil if we didn’t get the 30-year warranty.”

Construction, which is expected to begin in early spring, will likely result in intermittent closures of a parking lot or alley next to the building, Kleinhenz said.

Those types of details will likely be determined during an upcoming pre-construction meeting, project consultant Charlie Day of DLZ Indiana said.

The only problem that has surfaced regarding Foster’s bid was that the company lacked the bonding capacity to cover a 30-year warranty, Day said.

Upon his recommendation, the commissioners agreed the contract should only be awarded if that capacity is increased.

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Mark Webber is a reporter for The Republic. He can be reached at mwebber@therepublic.com or 812-379-5636.