Despite budget woes, Piatt County is taking a long look at an $85,000 fix of the HVAC system at its public safety building, a move they feel may save money in the long run.

Looked at throughout the years and given an $85,000 price tag earlier in 2019, the goal would be to bring the system more into line with original specifications for the building that was completed in 2003. County officials have alleged those specs were not followed in the original construction, something that has made for costly compressor replacements.

I cannot say how long what we have will last. It may last another year or two. It could go out before,” said Piatt County Maintenance Supervisor Doug Winder at the Dec. 4 meeting of the county building and grounds committee. “We need to discuss it and come to a decision on it.”

A decision on whether to pursue the project was put on hold until the budget was approved, which happened in late November.

Despite a projected $386,000 budget deficit that doesn’t include the HVAC project, County Board Chairman Ray Spencer said it may be time to consider a more long-term fix for the heating and cooling system at the building, which houses the county jail and sheriff’s offices.

I think maybe it’s time we probably get serious about doing it,” said Spencer.

Potential contractors will likely be brought in to explain the potential project, which would replace a pair of 40-ton condensers with a single, 40-ton one that has four compressors. It would also replace the one-circuit system with a two-circuit one that could provide better backup and energy efficiency since it would not have to run all out, all the time.


Office building rent

A more consistent way of charging rent for Piatt County Office Building tenants came up once again. Rent at the PCOB ranges from free for some non-profit groups up to $1,600 monthly for the county highway department.

Community Action had requested a reduction in its $252 per month rent, but committee members did not think that would be granted, considering it is a multi-room area that encompasses about 1,000 square feet of space.

In other action, the committee:

heard from Winder that a new fire alarm panel would likely be needed at the office building, with an estimated price tag of about $18,000;

was told by Winder that the courthouse hot water heating system had been flushed, but that there were still areas that were clogged. He hopes that cleaner placed in the system will eventually free those pipes; and

approved the purchase of two replacement trees for the east side of the courthouse lawn. An evergreen may also be added to that area at the request of the City of Monticello for future holiday displays.