Commissioner: Jail may open in March
By Jessica LeDuc
Blade staff writer
Cloud County Board of Commissioners Chair Johnita Crawford told the entities at Wednesday night's intergovernmental meeting in Jamestown that the long-delayed Cloud County Law Enforcement Center may open in March.
Crawford said work continues on finishing the Jail, which was scheduled to be completed five months ago. In August 2012, Zahner Hansen Construction Group of Brentwood, Tenn., was awarded the project to construct the new Law Enforcement Center and Jail. Construction on the $5.9 million, 80-bed jail and sheriff's offices began in the winter of 2012.
Sept. 17, 2013, was the originally contracted substantial completion date for the Center, but a number of issues, including an electrical subcontractor briefly walking off the job, have resulted in numerous delays.
At last night's meeting, Crawford said a number of people had asked about the consequences facing Zahner Hansen for not finishing the jail by the Sept. 17 deadline. Contractually, no penalties can be imposed on the contractors. In response to those questions, Crawford presented a statement from Cloud County Attorney Rob Walsh.
"We do not at this time have a projected occupancy date for the new facility," Walsh said. "Project owners in the state of Kansas, including Cloud County, are entitled to recover damages caused by a contractor's unexcused delay in completion of the project. The consequences are expressed as either 'liquidated' or 'actual' damages for delay."
Walsh explained that liquidated damages are established, by agreement of the owner and contractor at the time of contracting, as a fixed dollar amount per day of unexcused delay. If, as in Cloud County's case, the construction contract does not include a liquidated damage clause, the owner may assert a claim for actual damages caused by the delay.
"Actual damages may include additional costs for financing costs, extended design-professional involvement in the project, outsourcing, and revenue lost from the owner's inability to fulfill contracts with other counties," Walsh said in his statement. "Actual damages are limited only by the owner's ability to prove the amount of damages actually caused by the unexcused delay."
Crawford said the county commissioners are hopeful the jail will be open soon. "The Brown Grand is scheduled to open on April 1. We're hoping we're at least in front of that," she said.
Concordia City Manager Larry Uri said the south flood control project is moving through the permit phase and he is optimistic the dam will still be built in 2014.
Mayor Tim Parker said the Concordia city commission would like to have a meeting with the Tax Increment Financing partners – Cloud County, USD 333 and Cloud County Community College – to determine the best way to use the funds.
At the end of the TIF district, which is in 2020, Parker said there should be $1.5 million left over.
"The TIF partners should all get together to sit down and have some discussions about what each group would like to see those TIF funds used on," Parker said. "We need to make sure we're following the intent of what TIF was (when it was implemented in 2000), but we also need to make sure we're following what each entity thinks."
With six years remaining in the life of the TIF district, Parker said now is the time to start planning.
"The most important part is to make sure we get the most bang for our buck, and that where we're using the money is going to help the future growth of the county."
Mayor Randy Smith reported that work should begin at the first of April on replacing in excess of 8,000 feet of water lines in the city. The city received a Kansas Small Towns Environment Program grant to replace the water lines. The grant requires volunteers to match the funds, and Smith said it would probably take close to a year to replace all the water lines, install seven new fire hydrants and 50 new meters.
Cloud County Health Center
Hospital CEO Don Bates said there are a number of projects going on at the hospital, one being transferring patient records to an electronic format. He said the information technology system at the hospital has been redesigned, and patient records should go digital on March 1.
Bates said he continues to work on recruiting new doctors to the hospital, as well as searching for a new general surgeon.
Superintendent Bev Mortimer said architects are working on the new HVAC system, which will be installed at Concordia Elementary School this summer. She said CES students and staff will be getting out of school a week earlier than the rest of the district in May to allow for more time to work on the HVAC system.
Mortimer also said Cloud County may qualify for FEMA hazard mitigation funds. That money could be used to help build the FEMA shelter at CES, which she said could slow down construction of the shelter.
City of Glasco
Mayor Charles Wilson said the bar and restaurant in Glasco closed in December but 11 investors purchased the building and leased it to a new operator. The bar and restaurant reopened at the first of the year.
City of Clyde
Mayor Terry Koch said the city had received one bid to repair the water tower, which was lower than anticipated. A new restaurant, Velma's Lazy B, opened in November of last year.
Cloud County Community College
College President Danette Toone said the College is working on building a multipurpose facility on campus. A capital campaign is in place, and will be launched soon to raise funds for the building.
"We're cautiously optimistic that this is the decade that it will get built," she said.
Executive Director Ashley McMillan said the CloudCorp annual luncheon will be Friday, March 7, at the Catholic Church parish hall in Concordia. The featured speaker will be former Concordian John Lagemann, a senior vice president with John Deere.
McMillan also said April 23-27 is scheduled as Build Week for the Concordia Park Project. She asked that each city in the county spend a day helping with construction.
The next meeting will be in Concordia in May.
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