By MIKE MCCOY
Statesman Staff Writer
BLOOMFIELD, Mo. -- Stoddard County Commissioner Frank Sifford questioned whether the generator included in the job specifications was larger than needed for the Stoddard County Jail. Sides Construction of Cape Girardeau, Mo., was the low bidder on an electrical project at a cost of $168,343. The specifications called for a 250 KW generator.
Sifford said he would like some "clarifications" concerning the project after discussing the generator with Daniel Oakley, an electrician in St. Louis. Sifford said the jail currently uses 41 KW and that the 75 KW generator had enough capacity to handle that load. He said Oakley believed a 150 KW generator would have enough capacity to handle the current jail and would accommodate future expansion.
Presiding Commissioner Greg Mathis opened the meeting by saying the commission had some questions about what they were getting. He said the commission thought the project would provide power to the entire jail building, but found out at bid opening this might not be true. He went on to say they had SEMO Electric turn the power off to the jail and then powered it back up using the backup generator that is being temporarily used at that location. He said the generator did provide power to the entire building. The problem seemed to be with some battery backups within the building.
Building Superintendent William Dowdy said the battery backups on the individual computers within the building were not working properly, which caused them to lose power. The power came back when the generator started.
Mathis said, "We are back to moving forward with the project."
Siffor, however, stated, "I'm not sure we want to move forward with this project."
Commissioner Carol Jarrell said the project increased in scope due to the desire of the commission to accommodate future growth. She said the size of the generator depended on whether the jail would be expanded at some point in the future.
About a year ago, the jail population was running at 50 to 70 people, which was more than the jail was designed to accommodate, Sifford said. Those numbers have dropped in recent months. He cited several changes in bond requirements for those arrested as to why the numbers have declined. He questioned whether the jail expansion would be needed.
Dowdy said he believed the 150 KW would be big enough to power an expanded jail. He said the cheapest solution was to replace the generator without building a new transformer station. They could pour a new pad for the generator at the old site and just hook a new generator up there.
Mathis has no contracts for the project, which means the commission could still change courses.
Sifford said he wanted architect Dale Rogers to meet with the commission to discuss the need for a 250 KW generator.
The commission took no action. Mathis said they could discuss it further before the contract was signed.
In other business, the commission agreed to include a $50 per week raise for county employees and office holders in the 2013 budget preparations by County Clerk Joe Watson.
Sifford had proposed a $500 per year raise for county employees. He said the state was giving employees a two percent increase. He said taking the average employee wage in the county, it would amount to $500 per year. He said he didn't like doing a percentage raise because it was more beneficial to those positions with higher wages and provided less to those making lower wages.
Jarrell asked Sifford if that included elected office holders as well as employees. Sifford responded that it did include officer holders.
"I'm thinking $50 per month for a total of $600 per year," said Mathis.
He asked Jarrell her thoughts on the raise.
"I think we do have good employees, and I agree with the $50 per month," said Jarrell.
"I have no problem with that," said Sifford.
They instructed Watson to use that as a basis for preparing the 2013 budget. They asked Watson if he needed any other numbers in preparing the budget. Watson said that was all he needed to start work on the new budget.
Watson told the commission that letters soliciting bids on county property insurance were sent to firms in the county last Wednesday. He said bids were to be delivered by Jan. 7, 2013, and the new insurance would go into effect on Feb. 2013.