Action by commissioners today begins another round of deliberation on the possible expansion of the Halifax County Detention Center, County Manager Tony Brown confirmed.
Commissioners approved the project ordinance for the proposed expansion but agreed to not proceed with the bid process until Moseley Architects comes to talk to them about the project.
Ian Bumgarner, the county’s senior management analyst, presented the budget ordinance to commissioners at their meeting this morning.
According to supporting information contained in today’s agenda packet, Bumgarner noted county staff has met with and negotiated a contract with Moseley Architects for updating existing jail expansion construction documents, bidding services, construction administration and closeout services along with detention training and transition services.
A chart presented in the supporting information shows the renegotiated contract proposal would save the county $102,250. The renegotiated contract was for $339,500, compared to $441,750 in 2014.
While Moseley crafted the contract with a cost savings, should the project get to construction phase there will be “construction cost escalations and applicable building codes have been revised since the original bid of the project in 2014, along with associated increases in project design and construction administration overhead costs,” according to a January 2 letter to Brown from Daniel R. Mace of Moseley.
Mace wrote it is anticipated the construction cost in today’s market is in the $15 million range.
In 2014, however, commissioners shelved the project, saying at the time it was too cost prohibitive and would most likely mean a tax increase of 7 cents when maintenance and operating costs were considered.
At the time the board unanimously rejected moving ahead with a 15-year financing package with a 3.75 percent interest rate for an $8.6 million expansion and yearly payments of $754,842.
Commissioner Patrick Qualls said, “In my opinion we need to decide if we’re going to do the project … I don’t want to spend $339,000 until we we decide we’re going to be moving forward with the jail.”
Brown said at some point the county will have to move forward with the project.
Sheriff Wes Tripp said this afternoon, “I am pleased that a project ordinance has been passed by commissioners. I would take that as a positive sign that the county is in the process of jail expansion. I look forward to that coming to fruition.”
The sheriff said the state has put a cap on inmate population at the jail of 85 — 77 males to eight females. “We average anywhere from 20 to 25 being housed elsewhere due to that cap at an average of $40 per day.”
Tripp said during the process in 2014, the sheriff’s office put off what he termed as “much needed renovations to the sheriff’s side.”
The renovations to the sheriff’s office, he said, were due to a lack of space, which forced the need for a satellite office in Roanoke Rapids.