Tariffs Raise Cost of New Clinton Signs

The new trade war the US President launched is credited with putting a kink in the City of Clinton’s plans to have Gateway signs installed on Interstate 26 at the Highway 72 interchange. City Council had authorized spending $57,940 for the signs along with a beautification project at exit 54.

#1 Sign Designs of Laurens was the low bidder, but council was advised this week that a June 11th email from Donald Thompson of #1 Sign Designs states that he can no longer build the signs at that price, because of rapid increases in the price of steel and aluminum due to the new tariffs. Thompson offered a new price of $68,194, which would only be good through yesterday. Supporting documents from city staff that were presented to City Council Monday evening verified the increases costs of materials.

In presenting the information, City Manager Bill Ed Cannon said that in all his years in municipal government, he had never seen anything like this. He told council that he believed the city had a firm price more than $10,000 less than the current price and he recommended that council suspend the project and re-bid the entire project. After discussion, council voted unanimously to do just that.

Meanwhile, the clock is ticking. Construction of the signs requires a construction permit from the South Carolina Department of Transportation. That permit is set to expire this coming November. And the trade war appears far from over.