Supervisors also to consider $706,000 budget amendment
BY CHUCK VANDENBERG
LEE COUNTY – Two public hearings scheduled for Tuesday morning will give county residents a chance to react to the county’s plan to bond for jail camera improvements and other maintenance projects in county buildings.
In September, the Lee County Board of Supervisors approved, with a 4-1 vote, to go ahead with purchasing a new camera system for the Lee County Jail at a cost of $320,000.
Supervisor Rich Harlow voted against the move saying the board just approved six new full-time correctional officers for the jail and the cost of that coupled with the cost of the new system was too much for the county to spend.
Jail Administrator John Canida said the current system is out of date and is difficult to find parts and service to maintain. He said recent audits of the jail have resulted in recommendations to have the system upgraded.
Mohrfeld Electric out of Fort Madison won the bid for the work.
The original estimate for the work was about $100,000 below Mohrfeld’s bid, but a representative Ericsen Ellison and Associates of St. Paul, said they had underestimated some parts of the estimate, and said the original estimate didn’t include blind spots in the jail, which have recently been brought to light.
He also said some upgrades to the software have taken place that can be addressed with patches and now require new equipment.
The county is also looking at bonding an additional $700,000 for other repairs in the jail, but also to help pay for boiler upgrades at the South Lee County Courthouse, upgrading restrooms at the Lee County Administrative Building in Fort Madison to be compliant with Americans’ with Disabilities Act, and approximately $50,000 to repair the retaining wall at the North Lee County Courthouse.
The two bonds will require the county to pass a budget amendment that includes $1,075,000 in bond proceeds and capital project expenses, which is also a part of the Tuesday morning agenda.
Also at the meeting, Supervisors will meet Dennis Colby, the new director of the Lee County Ambulance service, a position paid by the county as they continue to move toward acquisition of the service.
Cosby was one of three candidates for the position and was hired in September to help usher in the transition from the private Lee County EMS Ambulance Inc, to Lee County EMS.
Residents can dial into the meeting at 1-646-749-3122 using access code 392280325, or by joining via GoToMeeting at https://global.gotomeeting.com/join/293280325.