Commission discusses jail ideas

Saturday, December 2, 2017
Work continues at the Bourbon County Law Enforcement Center, where on Tuesday, the ground is being prepared for seeding.
Tammy Helm/Tribune

On Tuesday, Bourbon County Commissioners discussed the idea of adding a microphone system throughout most of the Bourbon County Law Enforcement Center, which is nearly completed.

Second District Commissioner Jeff Fischer asked about the status of a potential change order for the project, which would add a recording system throughout most of the facility.

“I think we’ve had enough of that stuff going on where the project has creeped and scoped and we as a commission, let’s just say, have been assaulted for standing in the way of progress,” Fischer said. “Enough of this. That wasn’t in the original plan for this. It’s delaying the delivery of this project and at some point we need to say ‘no.’”

Commission Chairman Lynne Oharah questioned if instead of using money to install a microphone system that money could be used to construct an evidence storage facility. Originally, a storage facility was included in the plan, but was removed due to the cost of the project. He also suggested the county could create a lot for impounded vehicles.

“We’ve already spent our allocated amount,” Oharah said.

Fischer agreed a storage facility with a fence could cost as much as installing a microphone system. Later, he and Oharah estimated a post-frame structure will cost between $35,000 and $40,000 or $28 per square feet.

“I think that’s a higher priority need than recording equipment,” Fischer said.

Oharah said recording devices are not commonly used in jails.

“The angst I have in this is we’re creeping this project, delaying the turnover of it, for a need that wasn’t, until recently, identified as a need,” Fischer said.

Third District Commissioner Nick Ruhl said the commissioners don’t know how much a recording system would cost. He said the commissioners have not received a change order for the system, but have been told installing the system will require a lot of conduit for the wiring.

Later, Oharah said much, but not all, of the facility would have a recording device.

“It will be going through a lot of ceiling tiles, going through walls, under walls, it’s quite extensive to do that,” Oharah said.

To clarify information in her minutes, County Clerk Kendall Mason asked whether it is Goldberg Group Architects PC or Universal Construction Company recommending the recording system. The commissioners said it is the sheriff.

Later, Oharah and Ruhl said they learned about the recording system during the last progress meeting, on Nov. 14. Typically, those meetings are attended by GGA and Universal Construction representatives, the commissioners, and sheriff and jail officials.

“So this was an add-on we had no idea about,” Oharah said.

Oharah said they will get a cost for the recording system, but it would not be this week.

Commissioners discussed several items that have yet to be completed at the site. Furniture is being ordered this week, according to Oharah. Kitchen equipment is expected to be delivered on Dec. 29, but then will have to be inspected and certified by the county health department. Inmates were working at the site Tuesday to prepare the ground for grass seed, which will be applied by the county’s public works department. Landscape material also will have to be placed.

Fischer said installation of the ceiling tiles can’t be completed until a decision is made about the recording system.

“Because they might have to rip up all these ceiling tiles to put in the conduit,” Fischer said.

Ruhl said finishing the painting is also on hold.

“So this last minute idea of miking up the entire place is costing us time and money,” Fischer said.

“We don’t know how much money yet, nor do we know how this delays us occupying or finishing this facility,” Fischer said.

He said the architectural firm and the construction company can’t be blamed for any delay because the recording system was not in the original plan.

Commissioners had planned to hold a project progress meeting Thursday, but Oharah recommended postponing the progress meeting. Fischer asked if holding the meeting would help “us get past that hurdle and get us into that facility two weeks sooner.” Oharah and Ruhl said they didn’t think holding the meeting sooner would speed up the completion.

Oharah suggested getting prices on a storage building.

Fischer said if they listed their priorities for the building, the microphone system “wouldn’t even show up” on the list.

Commissioners voted to postpone the progress meeting to noon Tuesday, Dec. 12.

Ruhl said the commissioners will not make a decision on the microphone system until they receive a price. Fischer said he is surprised the wiring has to be placed in conduit, which is where the “significant cost is.” Oharah said he was told “they” would not install the wire unless it is in conduit.

“It would have been easy months ago. It wouldn’t have cost too much months ago,” Fischer said.

He also said he wonders if other options have been explored, such as data cable, which might be less expensive.

Fischer and Oharah also wondered who will be responsible for or have time to go through all the recordings to find what is needed for a court case.

Even though commissioners agreed on a guaranteed maximum price of $6.25 million for the project, there is no guarantee on a completion date. That means there will not be any penalties no matter how long it takes for the project to be completed, according to Fischer.

“There’s no punitive damages in the contract for a delay in delivery of a commissioned facility,” Fischer said.

He said there is some allowance for unforeseen issues in the project.

He said there is “lost opportunity cost,” such as revenue from housing out-of-county inmates (20 inmates at $65 per day).

“The cost of the delay is very real to us,” Fischer said.

County Clerk Kendall Mason said the county is nearing the end of the insurance coverage for the project. Commissioners agreed to extend the insurance policy to Jan. 31.

An open house and dedication ceremony was held at the new jail facility on Thursday, Oct. 5. The facility was open for public tours during that week. During the open house, Kevin Rost, associate senior project manager with GGA, told the Tribune the hope was to have the law enforcement center completed by the first week of November.

In April 2015, voters approved a .4 percent retail sales tax increase to repay a $6.85 million bond issue to fund the jail project.

A pre-election brochure said the proposal was for a 21,000-square-foot, 74-bed facility with “an option” for 16 additional beds (eight cells) “depending upon final bids.”

In December 2015 Goldberg said the size of the building was increased to 23,000 square feet and the all-inclusive estimated cost would likely increase.

The guaranteed construction price for the project was set in September 2016 at $6.25 million, which did not include land acquisition, professional fees or any cells, which later were purchased with a $1.788 million lease-purchase agreement.

GGA officials cited higher construction costs as the reason for the cost increase.

On Feb. 28, commissioners voted to not purchase eight additional cells due to the cost of the project and stated they hope to be able to purchase the cells without using outside financing in the future.