Higher priced paving option to be considered

The county may pay a premium to repave its office building and nursing home parking lot in order to make it easier on employees and those visiting loved ones at its long-term care facility while the work is being performed.

In June, the Piatt County board’s building and grounds committee had recommended a bid of $18,491 from Dunn Company to resurface the lot. That price included work during the weekdays, with committee members rejecting a $20,570 price for doing the job on weekends only.

Committee member Bob Murrell was one of those favoring the plan that saved $2,000, but after further research proposed the county consider the higher-priced option.

What changed his mind?

“It was an 80-year-old lady who visits her husband there (at the nursing home) nearly every day. I thought if there is one 80-year-old lady, there are others. I realized we need to have compassion towards those who are visiting their loved ones,” said Murrell at the July 3 meeting of the building and grounds committee.

Besides the nursing home, several offices are staffed in the adjoining Piatt County Office Building, including the highway department, Services for Seniors, Faith in Action and CIEDC. Employees there share the parking lot with the nursing home, and use it predominantly during weekdays.

Murrell said highway transportation engineer Eric Seibring also convinced him that deliveries to county agencies and the nursing home are much more frequent during the work week.

“He made a compelling argument,” added Murrell. “I really respect our county engineer, and road surfaces are his expertise.”

The committee approved a motion asking the full county board to consider amending the action that had approved the weekday work bid. Since the issue was not on the published agenda last week, an amendment cannot be considered until the committee’s Aug. 1 meeting. If amended, it could be on the county board agenda a week later.

County Maintenance Supervisor Scott Stephenson said the repaving work would probably not begin until late August anyway, so did not feel it would significantly delay the project.

Power surge at jail
Stephenson told the committee his staff was “still putting things back together” at the public safety building/jail after a power surge caused an outage and at least $6,000 in damage about three weeks ago.

He said variable frequency drives in power systems were damaged by the surge, prompting an overnight outage at the jail and sheriff’s office. Generators kicked in and provided power while the problem was being addressed.

Stephenson said the system is operational, albeit on a mostly manual basis with fans that distribute air conditioning.

“The big issue is we have to shut down the cooling for three or four hours to do the work, so we’re waiting for a cooler day,” said Stephenson. Daytime temperatures last week were in the 90s until Friday. “With this heat the fans would be blowing 100 percent whether we have VFDs and a computer telling it to, or whether we had it on manual.”

He said compressors have needed to be restarted several times in order to keep the cooling system operational at the jail.

Stephenson said the two elevators at the office building – installed in 1974 – have needed repairs, requiring four outside service calls.

“A door latch went bad, and we’ve had several other issues. Just wear and tear and things burn up,” he added.

A portion of the roof at the PCOB will also be replaced, with committee members approving up to $6,500 for the work. Stephenson said about half of the roof was replaced when it still housed Kirby Hospital in 2009, but that the area to be replaced has much older shingles, at least 25 to 30 years old.

The county has saved dollars on snow removal for the jail and PCOB/nursing home lots by taking on the work itself for the last two years, but when equipment goes down on the one county truck dedicated to plowing, it causes issues.

But instead of hiring the job out again, the county is looking at a hybrid system where it would still do the plowing itself, but have an outside firm on call in case of emergency. When the county truck went down last year, outside firms were used but the county was at the bottom of the list since they had no written agreement for the work.

Stephenson will check to see if there is a way to have a firm on call to get work done in a timely manner should it be needed.

He added the county saves significantly on road salt by purchasing it on its own, saying they paid 17 cents per pound on a recent purchase, compared to 78 cent per pound charge when it is passed on by a contracted snow hauler.



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