County discusses fire panel bid

Seneca County commissioners addressed a problem with replacement of the fire alarm panel at the county jail, during a meeting Tuesday morning.

County Administrator Stacy Wilson said the sheriff’s office originally brought the problem to commissioners in 2011, but there have been several setbacks in fixing it.

“It went through the process, we got a couple of bids on it, and one of the companies we’re currently having difficulties with, we had difficulties with back then,” she said. “They basically talked to their lawyers and said because of our contract, we couldn’t get out of it, so we had to cancel all bids. So in the meantime, we’ve had the prosecutor’s office working on it, we’ve had another firm come in and give us another quote.”

Wilson said the original quote to update the fire suppression system was nearly $125,000 and the quote the county received recently was for $48,742.

Assistant administrator Tanya Hemmer said commissioners put the project up for bid twice, but had to reject the bids both times.

Commissioner Jeff Wagner said it is important to fix the systems because the county could lose its Immigration and Customs Enforcement contract, which helps bring in revenue by housing prisoners from out of the county.

“Now it’s kind of turning into an emergency situation,” Wilson said.

She said commissioners could pay for the project by using the Capitol Improvement Fund.

Wilson is to prepare a purchase order for the project for an upcoming meeting.

Also during the meeting, Seneca County resident Bruce Lambert spoke out against the $5 permissive tax for registered vehicles, and said commissioners should put the issue up for a vote.

“The leaders of government should be looking for ways to shrink our government, not grow,” Lambert said. “Our leaders need to lead by example; we need to live within our means. Don’t just keep going to the taxpayer and keep taking more.”

He said any new tax should be put on a ballot, and let the citizens decide.

Commissioners also discussed ways to pay for the HVAC control system upgrade.

Wilson said total cost of the project is $924,942, but some fees already have been paid. The upgrades include roof and lighting repairs.

Wagner said some of the money the county owes can be paid with Community Development Block Grant money.

He said commissioners could borrow money from the treasurer’s office to pay for the project and pay interest on it, and the paid interest would go back into the General Fund.

Wagner said commissioners also could use some of the unappropriated $1.2 million carryover money.

In other business, commissioners approved upgrades to the computers in the auditor’s office. The upgrades are to cost $5,194.94, Wilson said.

She said the treasurer’s office needed the upgrades also, which would cost an additional $2,947.78 from the General Fund.

In new business, the board approved of:

Bill vouchers.

A supplemental appropriation of $12,000 for the Title Administration Fund.

A supplemental appropriation of $962.98 for the Dog and Kennel Fund.

A resolution setting 10:30 a.m. May 7 at the commissioners’ office as the time, date and place to receive sealed bids for the SEN-CR 14-1.69 superstructure replacement box beams.

A resolution setting 10:30 a.m. May 21 at the commissioners’ office as the time, date and place to receive sealed bids for the obstruction removal of trees at the Seneca County Airport.

A resolution recommending designation of a county emergency planning committee.