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Costs of Lafayette County Construction May Rise After 'Trump Tweets'

Lafayette County Development from Corey Alger on Vimeo.

The Lafayette County Board of Supervisors were informed Monday in a regular meeting of a $59,000 construction project increase due to a steel tariff being implemented in March.

Steve Rowell, owner of Flagstar Construction Company, was awarded the bid for the new arena at nearly $5 million. The proposed Lafayette County Office Complex and Arena will be built on about 50 acres off of County Road 406.
President Donald J. Trump announced the steel tariff last month, and Rowell said he’s never witnessed such a quick-paced price increase in his 23 years in business.
“I’ve seen prices go up, but it would typically go up over a period of time, somewhere between six to eight months,” Rowell said. “I’ve never seen this in the steel market before. This went up over two weeks.”
In one tweet, Trump said trade wars are “easy to win,” and in another, he said steel industries have been “decimated by decades of unfair trade.” 

“President Trump tweeted, and it just created hysteria in the steel market,” Rowell said. “People just started going crazy. [Steel prices] have gone up 25 percent already.”
Rowell told supervisors the company is only asking for $59,000 to cover the cost. 
“We’re not asking for any overhead profit or anything,” Rowell said. 
Supervisors and architect Corey Alger of Alger Design Studio met earlier in March to accept bids for construction of the proposed projects. During that meeting, Alger said a 25 percent increase in steel prices could be anticipated in case of a tariff.  
“We want to get the steel ordered as fast as possible,” Alger said. 
But Rowell said Monday that Flagstar couldn’t order material soon enough to make the March 23 deadline Trump imposed without a signed contract. 
“We didn’t have a contract until the end of the month,” Rowell said. “The timing couldn’t have been worse for us. If we would have had four more weeks, we would have been fine.” 
“Certainly, it was out of your control, and we understand that,” Frye said. 
“It’s unfortunate for everybody,” Rowell said. “We just wish [Trump] wouldn’t tweet so much.” 
Lafayette County attorney David O’Donnell explained that the price increase should be considered on a later date after the contract has fully been reviewed and approved by the Board of Supervisors. 
“Depending on what [Trump] tweets, the price might go down again, who knows?” O’Donnell said. 

By Randall Haley, Editor-in-Chief of HottyToddy.com. She can be reached by emailing randall.haley@hottytoddy.com.

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