Jail bid $6M lower than estimate
The bid for the Ector County Sheriff’s Office jail expansion project was awarded Monday, coming in substantially lower than the original $25 million estimate.
The Ector County Commissioners’ Court unanimously agreed to award the bid to contractor Cooper Construction for $18.9 million during its regular meeting. Precinct 2 Commissioner Greg Simmons said he voted to approve the bid due to the cost being substantially lower than what original estimates showed.
The expansion was approved last May and commissioners issued $25 million of public debt to pay for the project.
County Auditor David Austin said the left over $6 million could only be used for three purposes: to further expand the project, to pay off the debt, or a combination of both. Austin said at this point, it’s too early to tell how the remaining money will be used until construction is underway, as they may have further use for the money to purchase more equipment.
Ector County Sheriff Mike Griffis said he thought the bid approved for the jail expansion project was fantastic.
“I’m glad that it’s finally coming to fruition and we can get the ball rolling to break ground and get that thing built,” Griffis said.
Ector County Purchasing Agent Kenneth Lind said there were four other bidders for the project: Butler-Cohen bid at $20,429,500, HB Construction bid at $19,675,000, MW Builders bid at $18,137,000 and Webber Construction bid at $18,350,000. Lind said there were more factors in Cooper Construction’s proposal that caused the County to select their bid, but said he could not divulge further reasoning for the decision.
The expansion includes an additional 60,000 square foot building to the Ector County Law Enforcement Center with 412 beds, and Griffis said it should help lower the costs spent on housing inmates in other county jails, which costs around $8,000 a day. Ector County currently has contracts with eight other counties to house inmates.
Griffis said they are hoping to break ground on construction of the expansion in January, and expect to complete the project in around 20 months.
A proposed professional services agreement with JSA Architects for roof repairs was unanimously approved Monday as well. Maintenance Director Octavio Carrillo said this related to the inspection of gravel roofs that may have been damaged from the hail storms back in June.
“There are some items that have not been addressed by them, which means the gravel roofs have not been considered for any roof damage or replacement, so it’s important for us that we look into that through JSA’s guidance and that we address those items to make sure that there is or isn’t any hail damage,” Carrillo said.
In a 4-1 vote, commissioners moved to discuss the proposed settlement and the terms and amounts of the proposed settlement in the Environmental Enforcement case Ector County has against Commercial Metals Co. in executive session. County Judge Ron Eckert was the opposing vote, but thought executive session was also a suitable place to discuss the item.
Precinct 2 Commissioner Greg Simmons said they had not approved a proposed settlement, but discussed a mediation the two sides had last week and plan to finalize a settlement within the next couple weeks.
Earnest Wotring of Baker Wotring, LLP, one of the firms handling the suit, said previously the company has made ‘flagrant violations’ to numerous laws. Simmons said the violations included some air quality issues like the burning of trash.
Carrillo and Cemetery Director Martha Fierro, who are retiring, both had their resignations from their positions unanimously approved by the commissioners, giving both a standing ovation for their years of service, as Carrillo served Ector County for 32-and-a-half years and Fierro for 36 years.
IN OTHER BUSINESS
The commissioners unanimously approved the Joint Resolution between the Republican and Democratic Party to hold a Joint Primary Election to be held on March 6, 2018 and a Joint Runoff Election to be held May 22, 2018; to be contracted with Ector County Elections Administrator Lisa Sertuche and to approve the early voting and Election Day polling locations, including the approval of Sherwood Church of Christ due to the Sherwood Community Building being under construction.Several budget items were unanimously approved by the commissioners regarding various proposed amendments for the carry forward of outstanding encumbrances from Fiscal Year 2017 to Fiscal Year 2018, as well as several proposed final year-end line item transfers and the final year-end budget amendments for Fiscal Year 2017. The court also unanimously approved the Accounts Payable Fund Requirements Report for Dec. 11, 2017.The commissioners unanimously approved a request to allow Maintenance Foreman Charles Pierce and Building Maintenance Receptionist Audrea Cravens to attend a training workshop for the new work order system in San Diego, Calif., in March of 2018.The commissioners unanimously approved a proposal to allow the electricity to be turned off to the old bonding company building on 318 N. Texas St.A request to purchase one emulsion storage tank was unanimously approved, to be paid for from excess bond proceeds for a 2015 bond issuance, and a proposed line item transfer to Road Maintenance Fund, Special Department Equipment, from Road Maintenance, for $400,000 was also unanimously approved.Two proposed Master Service Agreements with N Tune Music & Sound, Inc. and Lightning Protection Systems LLC were unanimously approved.A proposal to set the starting pay for the ECLEC Director of Nursing at $38.20 per hour was unanimously approved.A proposed replat of Lot 3 and the north 83.25 feet of Lot 2, Block 20, Plumanearly Subdivision was unanimously approved.