GREENE: Courthouse window project to begin soon
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By Carmen Ensinger
Anyone who has driven by the Greene County Courthouse within the last two weeks has no doubt noticed the large Jun construction trailer sitting in the parking lot. That trailer contains over 100 new windows that will be installed in the courthouse in the very near future.
At the March Judiciary Committee meeting Sheriff Rob McMillen updated the committee on the progress of the project.
“I talked to the general contractor in charge of the project and possibly by the end of this month or the beginning of April, depending on the weather, they plan to begin installing the windows,” he said. “With that being said, we need to decide what we want to do with the ones that are being taken out.”
There will be approximately 112 windows that will be removed and replaced, all of varying sizes.
“There are a couple different options we have,” McMillen said. “We can dispose of them, or we can sell them. The concern with selling them is to find a buyer and where we are going to keep them during that process.”
McMillen said he would recommend selling them as a whole lot rather than piece-meal.
“We don’t have anywhere to store them,” he said. “And you don’t want to have to rent a facility and pay a storage fee until you can get them sold. So, my recommendation is to either just dispose of them or sell them as a whole lot.”
Judiciary Chairman Earlene Castleberry said of the 112 windows, there are 13 different sizes that range from one quarter to one half inch in size. Her recommendation was to advertise them for sale on Facebook Marketplace at $500 for the lot of them.
Also discussed during the judiciary meeting was the needed upgrade to the plumbing at the jail. This has been an ongoing discussion for the past four or five months. McMillen had gotten a quote from Lloelke Plumbing from Jerseyville, but it was much more than what the county could afford.
The county had discussed using some of the ARPA money to do the upgrades. Lloelke had come up with an alternative upgrade that was much less than their original cost and one that McMillen would like to pursue.
However, the amount of the repairs is higher than the amount the county can approve without letting bids. But, in order to bid out the project, the county would have to hire an architect to do the specifications for the project, which would be an extra expense.
“I talked to Lloelke about that and they gave us a suggestion,” McMillen said. “A lot of municipalities are doing what is called a design build contract where you don’t have to have an architect come in. It is some sort of legal thing that we are talking to our State’s Attorney about and he is talking to Bill Strang about who is going to figure out how it has to be done.”
According to McMillen, it will take a two-third vote of the board to award the contract to design/build rather than bid the project out and pay for an architect to design the specifications.
“If the board is interested in this, we will pursue this avenue,” McMillen said. “It will expedite the project so we won’t have to start all over from scratch.”
Estimated cost of the project will be $260,000.
Another item discussed during the judiciary meeting was the contract with the Boyd Hospital for the ambulance service.
“One thing we discovered when looking at our contract is that our contract with Boyd for the ambulance is very, very old,” Castleberry said. “I asked the committee members to look it over and it was passed in 1993 and it was a one year contract that ended in 1994.”
It was decided that there are several items that needed to be updated in the contract.
Chris Ornellas with Southern Illinois Communication was on hand to answer any questions the board might have about the proposed new phone system the county was considering purchasing.
Castleberry said the reason the county needs a new phone system is that their current phone system, through Frontier, is so outdated that it can’t be serviced and they no longer have a contract with Frontier.
“Currently, they charge us $300 an hour to come to the courthouse to take care of any issues we might have with our phone service,” Castleberry said. “We don’t want that to continue.”
What’s more, the new phone system will actually save the county money each month.
“Right now, we pay Frontier $1,869 a month and the quote on this new system is $1,300 a month,” she said. “That is a $15,000 savings a year if we switch.”
What’s more, Ornellas is local and can be there in a moment’s notice when needed.
“One of the advantages of going with Chris is that he lives in Greenfield,” she said. “He also services a lot of businesses in the county, including a couple of school districts. He also does the Health Department. He said we would not need a service contract and he would provide service within 24 hours.”
Castleberry said she checked with the States Attorney and this item did not require the county to bid the project out.
“We can look at other providers and compare the cost or we can proceed with this plan,” Castleberry said. “If we do decide to go with him, he said he could have it in and installed by the end of May or early June.”
The county will also get some added phone lines for the reduced price each month.
“For security reasons, this proposal includes putting a security button in the courtroom so if help is needed in the courtroom all they have to do is push a button,” Castleberry said. “This will be linked to both the security desk downstairs and the Sheriff’s Office. Also, he is going to install a phone for the deputy on duty downstairs so this package is enhancing a lot of things.”
The initial outlay for the equipment will be $23,250 and the county can use ARPA money. The full board approved the purchase of the phone system at the full board meeting the following week.
McMillen also discussed the purchase of a fire alarm system for the courthouse which the board had asked him to look into.
The systems he looked into were for both fire and smoke and included pull stations and sensors for both smoke and heat.
“I contacted two companies and got quotes,” McMillen said. “The monitoring fee each month was about the same, but there was a big difference in the installation of the equipment, which was basically the same from both companies.”
Central Illinois Security came down and walked the courthouse and quoted a fee of $72,250 to install the equipment while Johnson Controls quoted a bid of $54,330.45. Central Illinois Security quoted a fee of $42 a month for the monitoring while Johnson Control’s fee was between $35 to $40 per month.
The committee decided to have McMillen ask Treasurer Kirby Ballard if the county had enough ARPA money left to do the project before it committed any funds for it.