MONTICELLO – The estimate for a proposed HVAC system at the Piatt County building on North State Street has exceeded the preliminary estimate by more than $150,000.
Previously, the county’s maintenance supervisor, Doug Winder had told board members that preliminary estimates to replace the system would be around $500,000.
But last week, Winder told the full county board that GHR Engineers and Associates of Champaign, had provided him with a preliminary estimate with a 10% increase of contingency cost for design and a 10% increase for contingency construction costs, plus the engineering fee would bring the estimated cost to $651,905.
More than $100,000 of that cost would include replacement of the chiller at the building, which Winder said, is starting to show signs of aging.
“Not only would we have new equipment, but it would be much more energy-efficient,” he said. “There would be variable-frequency drives on fans and pumps and so instead of running at 100% which they all do now, they would run at capacity of what is necessary.”
Winder said the system will have to be replaced in the coming years, no matter what.
“I would rather be pro-active and not wait until things break,” he said. “First, things would be more expensive, and second, we wouldn’t get to pick what we want to replace it with.”
The county plans to use $500,000 in ARPA (American Rescue Plan Act) funds to pay for the project, but now need to find another $151,905 in order to fund the project.
“Financially, the increase in (Corporate Personal Property Replacement Tax) CPPRT funds could cover that,” said Dustin Harmon, operations consultant for Bellwether, the county’s administrative consultant. “But it would be a hard pill to swallow, but he makes a lot of good points.”
The board took no action on the project and referred back to the Building and Grounds Committee to consider. Officials will ask GHR Engineers to appear at the Building and Grounds and Finance committee meetings next month.
District Three Board Member Randy Shumard announced he was resigning effective at the end of the day on Dec. 14.
Shumard did not provide a reason for his resignation.
He and District Three Board Member Todd Henricks were re-elected to the seat in the November election, the only two candidates to run for the two seats.
Shumard was elected to the board in December 2014. He had been sitting on several committees, including the claims, nursing home, and transportation committees.
“I will miss working with Randy,” said Board Chairman Todd Henricks.
It is not known when a replacement will be named.
staying the same
For now, county board meetings will remain on the second Wednesday of each month at 9 a.m., but board members say they will consider a change.
“I would like to have a discussion at some point about moving the county board meetings to a different time,” said District Two Member Michael Beem. “I think it would increase transparency and allow people who work in the day to attend meetings in the evening and make it easier on them if there is an issue that they are concerned about.”
Most board members welcomed a discussion about the change.
“I think some board meetings with big issues such as the wind farm, should be held in the evening,” said District One Board Member Jerry Edwards.
“I think it takes a while for the public to become aware and used to the fact that if we were to meet at night, they might be more willing to come,” Beem said. “It sometimes takes six months or a year to get people to understand that. If after a year, people aren’t showing up, we can always change it back.”
Shumard said it might be an issue for the department heads, who attend meetings.
“They might start work at 7 a.m. and work until 5 p.m. and then have to turn around and come to a meeting at 7 p.m.,” he said. “That’s an awfully long day for a department head.”
Beem said he had spoken to all of the department heads and received no negative feedback.
“They said just tell me when the meeting is, and I will show up.”
Mental Health Director Tony Kirkman and Sheriff Mark Vogelzang will discuss how to spend $10,000 from a settlement received from the state’s $26 billion agreement with three pharmaceutical distributors. Kirkman and Vogelzang will decide on how the county can best use the funds to fight opioid use in the county.
Resolutions of commendation
The board also approved resolutions of commendation for two former board members. Shannon Carroll decided not to run for re-election and Ray Spencer, who served as Board Chairman, was defeated in the November election. Both were recognized by the board on Wednesday.