Tuesday, 08 January 2019 19:46

Contractor continues to work on RCC downtown campus despite federal shutdown

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ROCKINGHAM — Progress on Richmond Community College’s downtown campus will continue — for now — during the federal government shutdown.

However, that all depends on the willingness of the contractor.


Rockingham City Manager Monty Crump told City Council members Tuesday night that he is unable to process payments for the project during the shutdown because the loan is backed the U.S. Department of Agriculture.

“They have to sign off every month on every pay request, approve every change order,” he said.

He currently has three change orders and a bill for $109,000 sitting on his desk.

"I can process these as soon as the federal government opens up," he said.

Crump said he contacted the contractor to make him aware of the situation and let him make a decision on whether to halt construction until the shutdown ends or continue working.

Construction of the campus is being handled by John M. Campbell Company out of Monroe.

“He informed us that he would continue to work on the project,” Crump said, adding that the contractor said he didn’t think it would last long. “I’m beginning to have my doubts about how long it’s going to last.

According to the Committee for a Responsible Federal Budget, the U.S. government has shut down three other times in the past 25 years.

The first two were both 26-day shutdowns during the winter of 1995-1996 under President Bill Clinton, when he and the Republican-led Congress were unable to agree on funding levels. The third was a 16-day shutdown in 2013 during a Congressional "standoff" over funding the Affordable Care Act.

Business Insider reports there have been 20 shutdowns or funding lapses since the Budget Act of 1974.

Tuesday marked day 18 of the current shutdown.

“We look around at how it affects communities — this could have a significant impact on us,” Crump continued.

The contractor could change his mind if the shutdown continues into April and he hasn’t been paid, Crump added.

“Hopefully they’ll come to a resolution that will not adversely impact this project,” he said.

Also related to the campus construction, Crump said the Hancock Street (U.S. 1) between East Washington and Franklin streets will have to be closed to tap into the sewer and run the wastewater lines to the new building.

City Planner John Massey said that the detour should only be in effect on Wednesday, with Crump added it would take “only a day or two, unless they run into a problem.”