Mt. Vernon Register-News

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November 15, 2013

Dix town hall draws few patrons

DIX — In the final town hall meeting conducted by the Courthouse Renovations Committee, less than 20 Jefferson County residents turned out to hear why renovations of up to $7.6 million are needed.

Jim Engeman, spokesman for M360, the company hired by the county to work up the renovations proposal, presented information to the handful of voters who attended the meeting at Rome Grade School.

Engeman provided various payment options for the renovations, including Option I funding of $4.5 to $5 million which would include roof repair, window replacement, limestone skin update, HVAC upgrade, electrical distribution upgrade, any abatements needed, and demolition of the old jail. Phase II of the project would include an elevator update, restroom rehabilitation, plumbing supply, a communications backbone, security, lighting fixture upgrades, fire wall for east stairwell and space programming changes.

In August, Engeman said his company proposed a $2.8 million option for roof repair, window replacement, limestone skin repair/seal, HVAC upgrade, electrical distribution upgrade, abatement and old jail demolition.

He also presented on Aug. 29 a cost breakdown by discipline with the range of cost to reflect a phasing approach, or “pay as you go.” Those estimates included $2.2 to $2.6 million for general work, $2.5 to $3 million for electrical, $1.8 to $2.2 million for the HVAC system and $1.2 to $1.4 million for plumbing, resulting in a total estimate of $7.7 to $9.2 million.

The county is considering placing a referendum on the March 2014 ballot, asking voters to help pay for the courthouse renovations. Although several options have been proposed, county officials are leaning toward a 1/4 cent percent sales tax increase. It’s been noted in previous town hall meetings that 60 percent of the revenues generated by the tax comes from residents outside of Jefferson County.

If the referendum passes, the board could execute a contract with M360 by April 2014, bids would be received in June and construction could begin the same month, with an April 2015 completion date.

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