The Clay County Board of Commissioners declined to sign off on a substantial completion form for the new Clay County Jail Tuesday. The commissioners instead opted to hold the form, an official acknowledgment that the facility is ready to accommodate prisoners and staff, until their February session.
Sheriff Mike Heaton and officials with Hannig Construction, the principal contractor on the project, assured the board the jail is ready for occupancy. Brazil's fire chief and building inspector have evaluated the building, and a state jail inspector has completed an initial survey of the facility.
But a number of unresolved details, including malfunctioning garage doors, minor glitches in the kitchen equipment and construction-related nicks on walls and other surfaces, prompted the commissioners to refrain from signing the substantial completion form until their next session.
The board approved another payment to Hannig in the amount of $320,936, leaving $250,000 to see the project through to completion. Commissioner David Parr said he views the remaining balance as an "insurance policy," covering unforeseen costs that have popped up as construction winds to a close.
Hannig has asked the county to absorb utility bills accumulated during construction, costs Parr said were accounted for in the county's contract with Hannig.
Hannig has also asked the board to pay the company an additional $55,000 stemming from a delay in construction caused by the departure of the project's original sewer contractor.
"That's still up for negotiation," he said.
Parr said he thinks the utility costs could be subtracted from the remaining $250,000 owed to Hannig. He is also hopeful an agreement can be reached on the $55,000 payment, given the board's willingness to accommodate a series of delays in construction that have cost the county a considerable amount.
The completion date for the new facility has been pushed back several times, and the board of commissioners has already secured $118,000 above the agreed-upon costs of construction to house inmate overflow as crews work to finish the project.
A representative of Hannig Construction predicted a checklist of outstanding detail work would be completed by the end of the week. But jail staff will still require a full month to train in the completed facility before inmates are transferred from the old jail. Parr said he hopes to see the jail occupied and operational by mid-February.