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Nueces County officials look into lighting proposal at Ortiz Park

Posted at 7:24 PM, Aug 01, 2022
and last updated 2022-08-02 10:21:16-04

CORPUS CHRISTI, Texas — An item tabled at Friday's Nueces County commissioner's court meeting included a plan for lighting updates at Ortiz Park in Robstown.

The proposal submitted to the commissioner's court by Dalkia Energy Solutions includes the installation of 34 solar lights along the walking trail around the south side of the property.

The lighting improvement is a priority for Commissioner John Marez who said it would bring in a cost-effective amenity to enhance safety for parkgoers.

Phase 1 of the project calls for $341,577.02. The funds would cover the costs of material, logistics, installation, and project management for the trail part of the project.

There would also be nine additional solar lights covering certain public spaces. Funding for the project would come from Marez and County Judge Barbara Canales.

"What I'm doing is a good project here," said Marez. "I feel that it adds value, that money is a relative amount of money that I'm very careful for."

KRIS 6 News has learned there are other proposals for the project. Two proposals, from one company, coming in at just over $80,000 and $100,000.

We asked Edward Herrera, Nueces County Director of Inland Parks, and Marez, why they would recommend a direct contract, rather than going out for bids.

Herrera said Dalkia has done work for the county before, but not for him directly. Both said they were unaware of the other bids, despite emails obtained by KRIS 6 News indicating otherwise.

Herrera and Marez also said they were unaware of pending litigation involving Dalkia Energy Solutions in New Mexico. The lawsuit alleges more than $10 million in damages after retrofitted lights in Albuquerque failed.

"I didn't have that and no one made that aware to me," said Marez. "Had I known that definitely is a big reason to draw back in concern."

Commissioner Roberto Hernadez believes the cost of the lighting project is on the expensive side and the county should consider bids from local companies before moving forward with the project.

"I just thought it was kind of excessive and thought we could give our local people here a chance to bid on it, see what kind of bids we get," said Hernandez.

We reached out to Dalkia about their proposal in Nueces County and pending litigation in New Mexico but they were not available for comment.

"I personally pulled this item, I asked for the county attorney to review it, they apparently told me that that's what they want to do as well which was a first for me to hear," said Marez.