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City Manager Ron Williams was authorized to decline renewal of the city’s public works contract with Jacobs and to attempt to negotiate a new deal.

LIVE OAK — The City of Live Oak is not going to automatically renew its public works contract with Jacobs Engineering.

At a special called meeting Friday afternoon, the Live Oak City Council unanimously — Bennie Thomas was absent — gave its support to City Manager Ron Williams sending a letter declining the automatic five-year renewal of that deal.

Williams told the council that while its contract states the term ends Sept. 30, 2020, City Attorney Fred Koberlein advised that due to the March 1, 2015, commencement date, the five-year contract actually concludes in March.

“Essentially, the issue is to not have the city miss the 120-day notification on automatic renewal of this contract,” Williams told the council. “Our intent is to not have this contract automatically renew under the same terms and conditions for another five years, but to spend the 120 days between now and March to determine if there is a contract to be negotiated or … I come back to you with a plan that provides these services in an economical, efficient, customer-friendly basis going forward.”

Williams reiterated that the advice from the city’s attorney is that the contract should conclude in March after five years not the 5 1/2 year date stated in the contract.

“We’re working on a calendar that says the contract expires in March,” he said. “We don’t want to allow the automatic renewal of the contract as is.

“We want to determine what is the best direction.”

In 2017, Jacobs acquired CH2M Hill OMI, which had handled the city's services since 2005 when it added solid waste collection and disposal as well as city city vehicle repair, and maintenance of streets, the cemetery and public spaces and grounds.

OMI began managing the city's water and wastewater facilities in 1997.

Jamie Wachter is the editor of the Suwannee Democrat, Jasper News and Mayo Free Press.

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