2012-12-05 / Front Page

Commissioners Grant Extension Of ADA Project; Purchase Of Sewer Extension Bonds Discussed

Courthouse Will Close Friday, December 21 At Noon For Pitch-In
by Michael Stanley
Staff Writer

Blame was spread to all involved with the ongoing Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) accessibility improvement project at the Owen County Courthouse during Monday’s meeting of the Owen County Board of Commissioners.

The board was visited by county maintenance supervisor Sam Hobbs, who has overseen the project since its beginning, along with 3-D Construction owner Don Hawkins, architect Mike Conly and Southern Indiana Development Commission grant administrator Matt Sward. Missing from the group was project manager Spike Shepler of PMSI, Inc.

The group approached the board with a request to extend the project through December 21, when 3-D says they will have the work completed. A requested was also made to extend the grant end date to December 21.

The board was also asked to approve additional change orders for the project, as well as a pay application of $101,173.50, $18,412 of which comes from a $500,000 grant. A total of $82,762.50 is being paid by the county.

There have been more than 20 change orders made since the original contract was signed, which have increased the project cost to $21,000 over budget. However, the county council had over budgeted for the work and will receive back more than $100,000 of committed funding.

It was also noted that PMSI had been to the courthouse only for update meetings on the project every two weeks and were not on hand to oversee the work, despite $65,000 being set aside in the original contract for them to do so.

“I see there are a lot of people to blame. I’ve been here and seen just one person on the job at times and I think that’s insufficient,” commissioner Richard Foutch said. “I’ve seen design flaws; when you come out of the women’s bathroom and you can see a man standing at a urinal, that’s a design flaw. So I think to point the finger at any one person, we would be wrong. I point it at everybody and say this is just not right. I think everybody involved is to blame.”

The board voted 3-0 to extend the project end date and another 3-0 vote to extend the grant end date to December 21. The commissioners also voted 3-0 to approve change orders as well as pay application number seven.

The commissioners also learned from county attorney Richard Lorenz that the bond purchase agreement paperwork has been completed for the sewer extension project from Spencer to the State Road 43 corridor. It was also noted that the $2.13 million bond agreement at a five percent redemption rate has been signed off on by Cook Group. The funds are from the county’s TIF (tax increment financing) District bond funds and not county property tax monies. An official closing of the bond purchase agreement is set for Wednesday, December 12.

The board later learned of several ongoing projects during an update from Owen County Highway

Department Superintendent Joe Pettijohn.

Pettijohn first made note of tree trimming efforts on Combs Road, where he said tree cover has maintained a wet road surface, causing surface deterioration.

Crews, he said, are also working to ditch along rural Sand Lick Road.

Related to a backed-up drainage pipe at the Coal City Community Volunteer Fire Department, Pettijohn noted a 15-foot trench has been dug in the alleyway and that Owen County Environmentalist John Reeves looked at the issue and found none the county is responsible for. He added that issues at the formerly Byerly Road landfill have been addressed and the department has began purchasing cold mix for road repairs. The project to add an asphalt surface on rural Owen Park Road has also been completed, he explained, with invoices being sent to Steve Mader.

The board was also revisited by county residents Tom Kruzovich and Mark Perry, who were revisiting the board with a request to place a gate and a ‘Dead End’ sign on an old roadway off of Straightline Road leading to Kruzovich’s property. The pair provided proof of notice given to adjacent landowners and the board voted 3-0 to approve the vacation of the portion of roadway.

In an update from Hobbs on additional county maintenance issues, he informed the board that the north parking lot to the courthouse will reopen to employees on Tuesday, December 11. However, a dumpster will remain in place on the south side of the parking lot.

Hobbs also said that automatic push buttons to open the north entrance doors to the courthouse will be in place as the north entrance reopens to the public on Thursday, December 6. Beginning January 1, the north entrance will be the only entrance to the courthouse. All other doors, Hobbs said, will be used as exits only. Also on December 6, the temporary handicap ramp leading to the south entrance will be removed.

Hobbs added that a chill pump malfunction is being repaired at the Owen County Security Center at a cost of $2,500.

The commissioners also approved a Christmas dinner for all county employees. The dinner will be held on Friday, December 21. The courthouse will close at 12 noon, with the pitch-in meal to follow at the Spencer United Methodist Church’s In God’s Arms Building. Employees will be asked to stay until 2:00 p.m. in order to enjoy the meal. Outgoing office holders will also be recognized for their years of service. County attorney Richard Lorenz provided a $100 bill to the board Monday morning to pay for the rental of the building. The courthouse will remain closed on Christmas Eve and Christmas Day, reopening at 8:00 a.m. on Wednesday, December 26.

The Owen County Board of Commissioners will meet again on Monday, December 17, beginning at 4:00 p.m. in the Commissioners’ Room, located on the second floor of the Owen County Courthouse. Following the meeting, a formal plaque dedication for the ADA project will be held outside of the north entrance to the courthouse.

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