Friday, December 19, 2014

County questions rising price tag of jail project

By DYLAN LYSEN, Herald Staff Writer | 5/5/2014

Franklin County Sheriff’s deputies are expected to soon acquire a safer inmate transportation portal after the Franklin County Board of Commissioners approved a bid for the construction on the sally port access project Monday at the board’s weekly meeting.

But not before some debate about the cost.

Franklin County Sheriff’s deputies are expected to soon acquire a safer inmate transportation portal after the Franklin County Board of Commissioners approved a bid for the construction on the sally port access project Monday at the board’s weekly meeting.

But not before some debate about the cost.

Steve Harris, board chairman, said the price tag provided by John A Thompson Concreting Co., which was eventually awarded the project, was higher than the board initially thought the project would cost. He said it was almost twice as much as he remembered from a previous discussion.

Lisa Johnson, county administrator, and Jim Haag, public works director, explained that the cost of the construction increased because of additional plans that needed to be added to comply with city ordinances for the construction and the use of more concrete. The bid totaled $43,648 and will revitalize the portal where Franklin County law enforcement officers can securely admit jailed suspects.

After a motion was made to approve awarding the project to John A Thompson Concreting, Donald Stottlemire, commissioner, took a long pause before he seconded the motion.

“Before we go to the second, I understand it’s a lot of dollars and it’s a lot more dollars than we started with, but I guess my big question would be ‘Do we have another alternative?’” Stottlemire said. “Either we have it or we don’t. That’s the only decision we have.”

Harris said the sally port is an all-around safety need for the county.

“It’s a safety issue for not only the prisoner they’re taking in there, but a safety issue for the officers and then a safety issue for the public at-large to be able to pull into that port to have the apprehended suspect contained so their not having to walk them in there,” Harris said.

Stottlemire seconded the motion and the bid was approved by the board with a unanimous vote.

Among several other actions taken by the commissioners, the board approved the Franklin County Health Department’s 2014-18 strategic plan. Midge Ransom, heath department director, said the plan focuses on four points the department hopes to accomplish: increase public understanding of health, transition to greater population health emphasis from clinical services, increase access to health care, and increase community collaboration. Ransom said the points of emphasis help with the three requirements that must be in place before applying for public health accreditation.

Ransom also explained the Sample Organizational Food Policy created by the Food Policy Council that promotes healthful eating without excluding all less healthful options. Colton Waymire, commissioner, said the policy wasn’t as extreme as New York City’s ordinance that prohibited residents from consuming certain products, but asks for local organizations to provide healthful alternatives when food is provided at an event.

The board also approved a proclamation recognizing May as Community Action Month; approved an emergency management performance grant agreement; accepted a proposal from Tom’s Mowing Service to conduct lawn care for county property subject to a contract; rejected a bid for the West Wilson Bridge project and discussed rebidding the project later in the year; approved a change order to the HVAC project replacing carpet in the courthouse; and accepted a bid from Adamson Brothers Heating and Cooling for $26,625 for a new roof top heating and cooling unit for the county annex building.

The commissioners met Monday instead of the usual Wednesday meeting because commissioners had other responsibilities that day. The board will next meet at its regular time May 14.

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