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Commissioners looking at cost-cutting measures

By JONATHAN ZWEYGARDT
Hays Post

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.

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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.
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  • johnson

    a $6,000 fitness room? really. come on commissioners. quit this nonsense.

    • Tired of giving

      Let them join Hays Med Center or HRC like the rest of us. These City & County Union employees always put demands on taxpayers pockets!

      • guest

        Hey moron..the so called unions are a joke..the fire..police and ems need to be in top form to save your sorry self..most decent counties provide these services for first responders

        • trickle

          great. then they can start by staying out of the doughnut shop in the morning.

        • Really?

          You must see different Police and Firemen than I do. Most of the ones I’ve seen won’t be winning a fitness contest anytime soon. If they want it, they should join one of the other gyms like the rest of us have to do.

          • fed up

            Lets see you strap on a gun or run into a burning building and risk your life for crappy wages ..and the rotten hays Germans the first responders must deal with..I doubt u have the guts or the ambition..

          • Runs With Scissors

            If that’s the attitude of the first responder, I’ll wait for the second responder. Thank you very much.
            I have great admiration for those who are called to take those risks for others, but I sincerely hope that’s not your line of work.

  • Chief59

    They shouldn’t cut anything! They should just take some of these dirty capitalists’ businesses and sell them! They didn’t build those anyways; The Lord and Savior Obama and the Glorious Federal Family built those! You dirty proles owe us Federal Family Members EVERYTHING! HOPE! CHANGE! BELIEVE! FORWAR! OBAMA!

  • Uncle Thomas

    “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.”
    Concrete walls? I thought this was a pre-fab? Does anyone know what is being built or have any experience with project management?

  • other shoe

    Where is the funny part from the paper. This thing is to have 22 garage doors.
    What the H***!! Who fell on their head to come up with that one? The same people that think they need a fully loaded exercise room? Come on Dean and Swede, you guys wouldn’t spend that kind of money for buildings for yourself and this should be no different. The architect is incompetent at best. Fire them and start over!!!

  • Guest

    I understand the need for the first responders to be physically fit and in good health. I also understand that these folks are not typically paid well. And I have been a strong proponent for this new building. But I do have to questions why this requires a designated fitness room on the taxpayers’ dime. Can’t the City provide them with gym memberships to an already established facility in town? There are many to choose from and I have a really hard time believing the City couldn’t get a heck of a deal from HRC or Southwind Crossfit. Furthermore, the first responders need to take some personal responsibility for their own health and fitness. I am not one to stereotype these individuals but I did see a very overweight police officer in Love’s around 3 p.m. a few weeks ago purchasing a soda, a bag of Doritos and two chocolate long johns. Surely there is a better way to achieving personal goals and meeting industry-required fitness goals.

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