Commissioners looking at cost-cutting measures
By JONATHAN ZWEYGARDT
As the Ellis County Commission continues to look for ways to cut costs for the EMS/Rural Fire building, commissioners have created a list of questions to be sent to the architect before they advance the project.
With the changes the architect has proposed, approximately $707,000 worth, and the move to a pre-manufactured metal building, the estimated cost is $3,240,200. Initial low bid for the building was $3.9 million — between $400,000 and $500,000 higher than the county had projected.
The new 0.5 percent sales tax was approved by voters in May to fund a series of building renovations, ranging from EMS/Rural Fire to extensive improvements at the courthouse and jail.
At Monday’s meeting, Commissioner Dean Haselhorst said he would like to know the cost of the metal building, adding he believes the estimate should be less than $3 million. He requested the commission receive more updates from the architect because they “don’t want surprises as a commission.”
One of the areas of concern, brought up by Ellis County EMS Director Kerry McCue, was the decision to leave the fitness room unfinished; a change the architect estimated would save approximately $6,000.
McCue said he is afraid that is something that could get “lost in the shuffle.”
“There are all sorts of things that would be nice to have but we’re talking about trying to get within the budget we have,” said Barbara Wasinger, commission chairwoman.
The building still would have a room that can be used for working out, but the room wouldn’t be finished — instead it would be four concrete walls.
The placement of the generator was another point of discussion. Moving the transformer and the generator closer to the building would save approximately $15,000.
There was some question about the noise and fumes from the generator if it was close to the building. The commission decided to look into a cost-effective form of insulation to see if that would be a solution.
In other action:
- The commission held a public hearing and also approved a resolution endorsing an Economic Development Tax Exemption for Hays Fire and Rescue Sales and Service LLC.
- A conference call with the architect to discuss the 718 Main administrative center project was scheduled for 1:30 p.m. Monday.
- Commissioners also held a 25-minute executive session with County Counselor Bill Jeter, County Administrator Greg Sund, Public Works Director Mike Graf and Environmental/Planning and Zoning Director Karen Purvis. No action was taken.