By Lyndsie Ferrell
CREEDE— Mineral County Commissioners were presented with a proposed budget on June 19 for the Mineral County Courthouse project that is scheduled to begin by August. The commissioners approved an estimated budget when the project was beginning to take off back in the fall of 2017, but now are looking at a final budget for the project which came in nearly $200,000 over the original estimate.
County Administrator Janelle Kukuk explained that there were several factors in play that caused the budget to come in over the original amount, including roofing material costs and changes that had to be made to the front office space design. “We need to get this hammered out and in place before we begin our move at the beginning of July. We came in over budget and have some decisions to make,” said Kukuk.
Commissioners took a moment to discuss several areas within the budget that may be able to be changed in order to bring it back to the original cost estimate including whether or not they would use wood or metal door frames; how many electronic locks were needed to secure locations, like front entry ways; the evidence locker and gun safe in the sheriff’s department and pavement on the west side of the proposed parking area.
After considering these changes to the proposed budget, Kukuk made a call to project manager Brad Ash with Reynolds, Ash and Associates. Ash explained that there are options to look at in regards to where the county could potentially save money and began to explain that one of the larger line items, like roofing material could be altered in order to bring the overage down considerably.
Commissioner Jesse Albright suggested that Ash consider changing the roofing material to asphalt shingles instead of the proposed material included in the budget and to opt out of paving the west side of the parking area in favor of gravel which would bring the overage down to about $158,000 with all changes made.
Commissioner Scott Lamb also stated that the changes proposed for the configuration of the front office area, which mainly included having the old vaults removed and utilizing the leftover space for a lobby area, would be changes and money well spent. “We need to look at functionality and longevity and how the changes will better serve the county as a whole,” stated Lamb.
One of the main factors that caused the budget to be higher than anticipated was the removal of asbestos from the building. “This ended up being a huge line item in the budget and we have the option to either go with the company that came in and did the survey or we can put this back out to bid to see if we can get any other offers,” explained Ash.
Commissioners asked Kukuk to look into at least one other asbestos removal company before they make the decision on who to use for the abatement part of the project. “I think it is in our best interest to look for at least one other bid before moving ahead,” stated Lamb.
At the end of the meeting, commissioners decided that as the project moves forward, they would be able to detect other areas of the budget that may provide additional savings. “As this thing gets going, we will be able to determine other places we can save. We built the medical clinic, which was two brand new buildings on time and we came in under budget,” stated Kukuk.
Commissioners asked Ash to make the appropriate changes and to be ready to place the project out for bid by next week. “We are on a very tight schedule and with a nine-month projected time period, we need to get things moving,” said Lamb. Commissioners plan to have the courthouse relocated to the Rio Grande Silver building located on the western edge of Bachelor Loop Road beginning in July.