'The whole story' ... a closer look
Commissioner McNutt recently submitted an opinion article for this forum titled "The Whole Story..." on the jail project.
As someone who has done a ridiculous amount of research on this project, I am disappointed and qualified to say the commissioner came up way short of meeting his goal. "The Whole Story..." on this issue simply cannot be told in the number of words he devoted to the article.
As I have written plenty already, I will keep these comments short and directed to a couple points the commissioner made in his article. If you haven't read my previous comments, you can read my whole essay at this Gazette web address. http://www.mccookgazette.com/story/1835747.html
I want to address specifically some of the cost information Commissioner McNutt referred to from the Prochaska and Associates feasibility study regarding Option 4 (Greenfield Site) and Option 5B (Hold and Transport). You can study these numbers for yourself on pages 43, 44, and 45 of the jail study online at this Red Willow County web address. http://www.co.red-willow.ne.us/content/jail_planning_committee_updates
Option 4 is the Greenfield site option costing $5.97 million and was judged too expensive. What Commissioner McNutt has failed to explain was that this design option included 1,000 more square feet of jail and 2,000 more square feet of sheriff's office space than the building Option 1A they selected to build at the courthouse. When you adjust the cost of the buildings for this difference in size, they come up essentially the same cost.
Now consider that the Greenfield site I have been suggesting might cost one tenth of what the Norris Avenue site will cost; we could look at savings of over $350,000 on the site alone. It appears to me now the Greenfield option is less expensive, even considering the additional prisoner transport costs calculated by the jail designer to be $5,905 per year, or cumulatively over 20 years with inflation to be $169,569 (all this on page 43 of the jail study).
Option 5B is the Hold and Transport facility option costing $3.82 Million. What is interesting here is the jail portion is 2,500 square feet, less than 25 percent of the building total which is 10,500 square feet. The rest of the building is 6,500 square feet of sheriff's office and 1,500 square feet of connecting links to the courthouse.
Put in financial terms, the jail portion in Option 5B is costing less than $1 Million, and the sheriff's office, connecting links, and courthouse renovations make up the rest of the $3.8 Million. Certainly this option doesn't look attractive as it is designed, but if you could build a holding facility for around $1 Million, and forget the nearly $3 Million of sheriff's offices, connecting links, and courthouse renovations unrelated to keeping a prisoner, the Hold and Transport option gets considerably more interesting and financially competitive.
In conclusion, I point out this information to again suggest the sheriff and commissioners have not been as diligent and conservative with our tax dollars as they claim. There are many other money saving possibilities and options deserving consideration that have not been fairly judged.
This project needs to stop now, as Commissioner McNutt has assured me could happen given an incentive to do so. If Commissioner McNutt is truly interested in bringing a community together as he suggested in the last sentence in his article, his approach dealing with the public the last twelve months needs a major overhaul. The commissioners are on a stubborn path to see this through; if you disagree with them like I do, you need to let them know with your personal contact or at the community meetings scheduled. The next one is at 7 p.m., Monday, April 30 at the Fairgrounds Community Building.