New jail bids meet budget for county

Published 12:00 am Monday, April 9, 2007

Bids for the new county jail came in at an estimated $4.2 million on Thursday, well under the $6 million price tag associated with the project when bids were received in October 2006.

The Butler County Commission directed architects to re-design original plans for the jail, trimming costs to meet the county's budget requirements, $2.7 million of which is bonded funds.

&#8220We were pleasantly surprised,” said Chairman Jesse McWilliams (Dist. 2). &#8220Now we're looking at Monday to get everything started.”

Officials believe it will take 15 months to build the new jail. New plans drop the size of the original jail from 16,019 square foot to 12,964 square foot.

In other business during Thursday's workshop:

n The Forest Home Volunteer Fire Department is hoping the third time is a charm. The VFD will submit its third straight grant application for a new firehouse. The current firehouse also serves as the voting precinct for the small Butler County Community.

&#8220We have no disability access, no running water and no restrooms,” said Mary Till, a member of the Forest Home VFD.

In 2006 estimated cost for the firehouse was $200,000. A volunteer fire department can receive up to $250,000 in funding from the grant, according to Lenwood Herron, a planning consultant working with Forest Home.

Grant approval will require the county to provide 10 percent in matching funds or in-kind work.

Jerry Hartin (Dist. 1), who represents Forest Home, was adamant that the firehouse has public restrooms by 2008, the next election year.

&#8220Whether this grant is approve or not,” he said.

n Ken Funderburke of Merchant Capital updated the commission on the creation of a cooperative entity that will facilitate the issuance of a $25 million bond to build new schools in the county. Funderburke explained that two governing bodies must appoint persons to the cooperative, which will serve to handle all funds and financing for the bond issuance. The City of Georgiana has agreed to act as one public body and Funderburke asked the commission to serve as the other.

&#8220With a cooperative in place this gives the county commission no liability for the debt,” said Funderburke.

Funderburke said the Board of Education should serve as the cooperative and the Georgiana City Council has agreed to appoint the board's representative from its district. He advised the commission to appoint the other four Board of Education members to the cooperative.

The appointments will require a formal resolution by the commission.

n EMA Bob Luman updated the commission on the purchase of a new weather siren. Luman said the grant funds has been approved in the amount of $21,690 with the county's match $2,700.

The siren will be located on the main Greenville exit near Bates House of Turkey.

&#8220The reason it's locating there is because it's an in the middle of an outdoor area where people will be shopping,” said Luman.

The Butler County Commission will meet on Monday at 8:30 a.m.