McCOOK, Nebraska -- A day before voters decide how the project will be financed, Red Willow County, Nebraska, commissioners selected Sampson Construction of Lincoln as the construction manager for the construction of the county's new jail and law enforcement center.
Commissioner Steve Downer said he was impressed that Sampson came in under budget and ahead of schedule with Brown County's new jail in 2009. Fellow commissioner Vesta Dack said that Sampson was the only firm of three interviewed "committed to keeping it within our budget."
Commission chairman Earl McNutt said he told John Sampson "we want your best team on this project," because it is imperative not to go over the $5.1 million budget.
The other firms interviewed were RaDec of Hartington, Nebraska, and Beckenhauer Construction Inc. of Norfolk, Nebraska.
McNutt said Sampson will work with architects Prochaska & Associates to get the project ready for bids.
Commissioners and Rex Nelson, who through the McCook Economic Development Corp. coordinates the county's revolving loan fund, agreed that the state can indeed come to McCook to perform a compliance review of the county's revolving loan fund.
A letter dated May 4 from the state's Department of Economic Development indicates that all unallocated money in a county's or a community's CDBG revolving loan fund and future payments on loans can be returned to the state, and the department will not monitor previous use of the program income fund. If the money and payments are not returned to the state, the department will do an onsite compliance monitoring review of the program income fund.
Several at the commissioners' meeting Monday joked that it sounds like "if you've got something to hide, send the money back, quick. Don't make us come and get it ... "
McNutt said, "It's federal money. The state just wants to make sure all the i's are dotted and the t's are crossed."
Nelson told commissioners to let the DED monitor the county's revolving loan fund, that his and the county's paperwork are all in order.
"Sure, let them look it over. All of our books are in order," Nelson said. "We have no issues. The DED has monitored the county's account before, and we've gotten good reports in the past."
County treasurer Marleen Garcia said her office's paperwork and documentation of the revolving loan fund are routinely audited.
Nelson said the DED often requests the return of CDBG funds if a loan program is no longer active. But, in Red Willow County, he said, the fund is active, that two or three applicants could use the fund in the upcoming six months.
The latest loan was made in March 2012 to Jeremy Bain, owner of JLB Welding of McCook, who will use a 10-year, 3 percent-interest loan to purchase land on which to build a new welding shop.
The county's fund has about $290,000 in it, "so we've got money to put to work. We'd like to keep the money working here," Nelson said.
Sally Vaughn, executive director of Region II Services: Supporting People with Development Disabilities headquartered in North Platte, told commissioners that the county's per capita rate to support Region II Services will increase from $1.54 in 2011-12 to $1.59 in 2012-13.
Region II provides vocational and residential training for 205 individuals from 17 counties in southwest and central Nebraska at program centers in North Platte, McCook, Ogallala and Cozad. Red Willow County has 42 individuals.
The other top two counties are Dawson, with 56, and Lincoln, with 57.
Per capita funding is the fairest funding formula, Vaughn said, because all counties pay the same per capita rate.