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Commission votes to proceed with project

Tuesday, December 4, 2012


Statesman Staff Writer

BLOOMFIELD, Mo. -- The Stoddard County Commission voted unanimously to proceed with a project to construct a new electrical transformer station and generator for the County Jail building at its regular meeting Monday at the Government Building. The commission was to contact Sides Construction Company of Cape Girardeau, Mo., to obtain their bond and insurance to begin construction.

Sides was the low bidder on the project with a bid of $168,343. The project includes a new electrical station and a 250 KW generator to be located on Seneca Street. The project will provide electrical and backup generator service to the jail as well as necessary electrical equipment for future jail expansion.

Last week Commissioner Frank Sifford questioned the need for a 250 KW generator. He used information from another electrician that showed a 150 KW generator would be enough for the current jail building. Sifford was concerned that the project has grown too big in scope and was more expensive than necessary.

Architect Dale Rogers, a principal with Robert Stearnes and Associates, was at the meeting Monday and distributed information with a timeline showing information that was presented to the commission in reaching the decision to use a 250 KW generator. Rogers pointed out that the information presented by the electrician was based on the wrong square footage for the jail. He also said the electrician based his estimate on "demand" and not "connected load." Rogers explained that specifications on the building had to be based on the connected load because it represented the potential use during an outage. His packet traced the project from when it was first discussed July 13 until bids were opened on Nov. 19.

Much of the subsequent discussion centered on whether the project was going to include further expansion at the jail or not. Rogers said they could go with a smaller generator, one that would handle the jail as it is currently. He said the 150 KW generator would not provide backup power based on connected load for the entire jail as it is now.

"What we've asked to be done has been done," stated Presiding Commissioner Greg Mathis.

"I talked to Steve Brown (Brown Construction) and he said, considering the scope of the project, it was a great price," said Mathis.

Sifford said he "got confused" when looking at the recommendations from the other electrician. He said going with a bigger generator meant changing the power station for the jail and that meant added dirt work, concrete, retaining walls and a new transformer from SEMO Electric.

Sifford said, "$168,000 is a lot of money on the table if expansion doesn't happen."

The question before the commission was whether they wanted to proceed with the project to make future expansion possible, or just go back with what was necessary to keep essential services going in the event of a power outage.

"If we go ahead with the project, would there be a big substantial savings down the road?" questioned Sifford.

Rogers said everything is going up and he believed it would be costlier in the future to make the upgrade if expansion was needed.

Mathis asked Commissioner Carol Jarrell her opinion on the project.

"We knew it would cost us around $200,000 and our thoughts were that we were going to plan for jail expansion," Jarrell stated.

"I guess I just got screwed up," commented Sifford.

"I am in favor of the project moving forward as it is," said Mathis.

"I'm going to change my mind," said Sifford. "There will be a savings if we do an expansion... and there will be an expansion."

Rogers also addressed the issue of the diesel tank size. He told the commission that the tank specified in the project was for a 600 gallon tank with a 1000A switch gear. He said that would provide fuel to operate the 250 KW generator for 51 hours.

Jarrell made the motion to have Sides Construction proceed with the project as outlined in the bid specifications. Sifford seconded it, and it passed 3-0.

Other business included a request from University of Missouri Extension Council Member Delores Bailiff and Dr. Van Ayers with the Stoddard County Extension Service to allow them to apply to the university for funds for a Youth Professional Assistant. The position would coordinate the county 4-H programs. Clara Green with the Extension Service worked with 4-H clubs until her retirement.

Ayers said there were nine 4-H clubs in the county with an estimated 200 members. He said he would apply to the university for funding for a part-time position in the county. He said the work would be 20 hours per week and the pay around $10 per hour. He said normally the university pays 75 percent and the county pays 25 percent. He said currently an Extension person in Cape County is helping in Stoddard County, but she was primarily focused on northern counties in the area.

"I have been sitting in on the council meetings," said Jarrell. "I am well aware of the need."

Sifford pointed out that the county contributes $42,000 per year to the Extension Service. He said he didn't know what the new commission would budget (Sifford is retiring), but that there should be enough money for the county's portion of the salary. Ayers agreed.

Mathis asked if the position would be strictly for Stoddard County, and Ayers responded, "Yes."

Sifford said he didn't think it required action from the commission since it was an Extension Board decision. He said he was in favor of making the application to the university to fund the part-time position. Jarrell and Mathis agreed.

The commission received a letter from Kenneth LaRue saying he did not believe he received a fair hearing before the County Equalization Board. LaRue objected to an increased assessment on his recreational vehicle. He said the assessment included furniture and other household goods that were not allowed to be taxed.

Mathis said he was preparing a "personal response" out of courtesy to LaRue. The commission opted not to formally respond to the letter, saying that LaRue was given a fair hearing before the Equalization Board.

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