July 30, 2007

Wright County Board approves delay in jail bid opening

By Ivan Raconteur
Staff Writer

A skeptical Wright County Board approved a request to delay the bid opening that had been scheduled later in the day Tuesday.

A bid opening for bid package two for the jail/law enforcement center had been scheduled for 2 p.m., but was cancelled at the request of KKE Architects.

During Tuesday’s board meeting, KKE representative Clifford Buikema told the board that part of the reason for the delay is that KKE and A&P Construction decided to separate the precast cell package from the detention equipment package, due to the fact that very few contractors were willing to bid both components together, and it was likely that the county would receive only one bid for the large amount of work.

Commissioner Dick Mattson asked how delaying the bid opening would affect the construction schedule. He also asked if the company could guarantee that there would be no future delays.

Buikema said buildings are designed and built by human beings, and he could not guarantee that there would be no delays.

Mattson said with the slowdown in the construction industry, he would expect to see more bidders for the project.

Tara Martin of A&P said there are only four contractors that manufacture pre-cast cells, and high demand from California is affecting supply.

Commissioner Pat Sawatzke asked if the completion date for the project would remain the same if the bid opening was delayed.

Martin said the approval of bids could delay the start date, but added that she did not see the five day delay in the bid opening as a big issue.

The board approved delaying the bid opening for precast cells, concrete, steel, and related work by one week to Tuesday, July 24.

The bid opening for detention equipment was delayed until Tuesday, July 31.

Parking lot change order approved

The board approved a change order related to the government center parking lot expansion.

Purchasing Agent Craig Hayes told the board that the original plan was to use an existing residential driveway on Secnd Street Northwest, but it was determined that the entrance would have to be removed and re-graded to provide a more gradual slope for the entrance.

Mattson said he does not like change orders, but acknowledged that in this case, the change would benefit the county.

Mattson said he examined the old entrance, and could see scrapes where vehicles bottomed-out due to the steep slope.

Board Chair Jack Russek agreed, noting that if the entrance was not modified, the council might face some liability.

The total cost of the change order is $1,750.

Re-appraisal of compost facility will save money

Safety Director Mark Nolan provided figures showing the cost savings that the county will realize as the result of re-appraisal of the county compost facility.

The buildings are now valued as “cold storage” rather than as a compost facility. As a result, the appraised value dropped from $31,715,058 to $5,422,420.

The county also increased its deductible for insurance coverage from $1,000 to $5,000.

Because of these changes, the county’s annual contribution dropped from $43,713 to $6,445; an annual savings of $31,652.

Odds and ends

In other business, the board:

• authorized signatures on a Supplemental Federal Boating Safety grant agreement. The Wright County Sheriff’s Office received a $1,936 grant from the DNR for the purchase of a sonar unit that will allow a search team to scan lake bottoms more effectively and efficiently when looking for victims of water-related accidents.

• set city law enforcement contract rates for the sheriff’s department at $54 for 2008, and $56 for 2009. These rates represent increases of roughly 3.5 percent each year.

• approved a public access television user agreement with Charter Communications.

• authorized signatures on a proposal for design services related to workstations at the new jail/law enforcement center from Intereum at a cost of $1,950.

• modified the county’s employee recognition program so that employees with five years of service will be recognized during special ceremonies within each department. Beginning with 10 years of service, employees will be recognized at a ceremony during a county board meeting.

Employees with five years of service will continue to receive a mug and certificate, as they have in the past, and their names will still appear in the program for the employee recognition program.

• approved a recommendation from the leadership team to authorize sending eight county employees to a leadership cohort training program sponsored by the Association of Minnesota Counties, the Blandin Foundation, and the University of Minnesota Extension Service. Total county cost for the program is $8,000.

• scheduled a technology committee of the whole meeting Wednesday, July 25 at 10 a.m.

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