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Stories Added - October 2009
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County jail expansion bids come in at almost $17 million
Polk County Enterprise - October 2009
BY CHARLES K. FRANKLIN
LIVINGSTON —The bids are in for the Polk County Jail expansion project that will wrap around the existing facility to expand the capacity from 104 to 362 beds. Contractors from Polk and surrounding counties submitted bids for each part of the project. With 234 competitive bids received by the Sept. 17 deadline, representatives from J.E. Kingham Construction Co., the contractorat- risk for the project, has been sorting through each bid to determine a baser bid. At the Tuesday Commissioners Court meeting, the sum of all of the accepted bids was presented by Project Manager Jack Smith for J.E. Kingham Construction; Gary Adams, a consultant to the county commissioners and County Judge John Thompson. The base bid will be $15,887,302 which includes a $500,000 contingency fund and the site-work preparation expenses — which amounted to nearly $1 million — and $158,400 to be used for laboratory testing and furniture. The base bid, though, is just a beginning number. County Commissioners have approved one of five alternate options, and several cost modifications for various pieces of the construction puzzle such as improved fencing and roofing. The guaranteed maximum price (GMP) will be $16,859,367, which includes the base-bid amount plus the first approved alternate and the cost modifications.
There are four additional alternates, or additions, to the plan that could drive the cost up further, but those would have to be approved by the commissioners. The additional items include $174,203 for interior construction for eight separation cells, $80,338 for an additional 86-space overflow parking lot, $821,864 for generators to power the jail in the event of a power failure and $180,500 to reroof the existing building. The existing jail already has generators to power essential items like the 9-1-1 service and some of the lighting. Additional generators for the expansion are included in the GMP at a cost of $472,811 but they are designed to run essential services only. The $821,864 alternate bid for three additional generators would power everything else, but commissioners could opt to decline including that until a later date. “The big number is to put everything at the jail on emergency power in case we have another Katrina or Rita,” Gary Adams, jail consultant to the county, said. “If they ever find the money through grants or whatever to purchase the three additional generators we can add them.”
IAH addition At Tuesday’s meeting J.E. Kingham Construction was awarded the contract for the construction of the new inmate processing addition at the IAH Secure Adult Detention Facility. The project will cost $1,785,000 but the county will not have to pay anything. The facility will bear the entire cost for construction. “We do not have a nickel in it,” County Judge John Thompson said. “I know that sounds too good to be true, but that is the case.” Although the county does not have to pay for the new facility, it will eventually become county property. “When the bonds are paid off the county will own it and it could potentially be a big money maker,” Thompson said.
The county has a federal contract with Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) to house transient immigration detainees waiting to be deported. The facility was built to the ICE specifications but the significant amount of detainees being brought in and taken away to be deported was more than was anticipated. “They are bringing in two bus loads at a time now,”Adams said. “And of course they are taking two bus loads away when they leave.” The proposed processing addition would provide a secure unloading and loading environment for the incoming and outgoing detainees. “It doesn’t have bunks,” Adams said. “They’re not supposed to be in there very long.” The facility has been providing a service to ICE for some time now and the money it has brought in so far has been placed into a reserve fund. “This project is a revenue bond,” Adams said. “There is no cost to the county. It is paid for by the revenues brought in by the federal contract. We have built up a reserve of over $2 million already.
That money is intended for improvements or to pay the bonds off early.” Sheriff’s Department Repeater Stations Sheriff Hammack is requesting support from commissioners to install voter stations on several cell phone towers throughout the county to improve radio communications for deputies on patrol in rural areas. “A voter station is merely a repeater,” Sheriff Kenneth Hammack said. “It boosts the gain and we are able to use handheld radios where we otherwise couldn’t have. It increases the reach.” “We are in discussions with SHECO to place our equipment on their towers,” Thompson said. “Another option is for us to be given a tower and then fund its construction. It would cost us $75,000 to put that tower up. It is 440 feet tall and we would need four acres.” Courthouse restoration The county is once again applying for a grant from the state for restoration of the courthouse through the Texas Historic Courthouse Preservation Program established in 1999 under then-Governor George W. Bush. “The program provides partial matching grants to Texas counties for the restoration of their historic county courthouses,” according to the program’s website. The county is seeking planning funds for architectural services to design a restoration plan for the courthouse. Gerald Moorhead with Bailey Architects in Houston is submitting the grant request. He was asked why so many application rounds were necessary and if he felt the application would be approved this go-round. He expressed some frustration toward the Texas Historical Commission during his reply.
“I cannot speak for the Texas Historical Commission,” Moorhead said. “Nobody can, not even themselves. We are just a little bit closer to the top now.”
Consent agenda approved • Approve utility easements to Trinity River Authority for reconstruction of treated water pipeline along FM 350 South. • Approve resolution supporting energy efficiency and conservation block grant application for Polk County and authorizing execution of notification of intent. • Approve county clerk’s early voting schedule for Nov. 3 general (amendment) election. • Approve order designating surplus property and method of disposition. • Approve Precinct 3 commissioner’s request for inter-local agreement with the City of Seven Oaks for road maintenance purposes. • Accept resignation of Jeanette Montgomery as human resources supervisor, effective Oct. 27. • Approve amendments to contract with Deep East Texas Area Agency on Aging for FY2010, reflecting increased funding for Polk County Aging Services Program. • Ratify memorandums of agreement with the City of Livingston, City of Goodrich and the City of Corrigan related to 2006 disaster recovery grant “DRS060071 Generators” cost sharing and payment to vendor. • Approve agreement between State of Texas and Polk County in the amount of $600 for the memorial marker sign for Lance Corporal Richard A. Anderson Highway. • Approve appointment of Shirley Cain as presiding judge of the early voting board as required by Texas election code 87.002(b). • Ratify agreement with Camp Cho-Yeh conference center for facility use to host DETCOG monthly board meeting to be held in November. • Receive county treasurer’s 4th quarter report for FY2009 (July, August and September 2009).