Commission to re-bid 911/OEM project

NEW CUMBERLAND – Hancock County commissioners expect to rebid the construction of a new headquarters for the 911 Dispatch Center and Office of Emergency Management later this month.

Commissioners learned Thursday that the project, which came in significantly over-budget when it was originally bid in May, has received an “extensive review” by architect L.R. Kimball, of Ebensburg, Pa.

The review means the project will be rebid with several “value engineering modifications” included, said Robert A. Vidas, executive director of the county’s Office of Technology and Communications.

“This rebid should reduce the cost of the building,” Vidas told commissioners at their regular Thursday meeting.

The biggest revision involves changing the project from two buildings to one building, Vidas said. Originally, the project called for a two-building complex – one for the 911/OEM offices and one for the Hancock County Health Department.

All three agencies currently occupy quarters in the Hancock County Courthouse and a neighboring building. Commissioners want to build them new facilities on county-owned property at state Route 2 and Rockyside Road. County officials hoped to keep the project cost at or below $5 million, including the $2 million technology package, but when the bids were opened in June, the lowest bid was $4.8 million, not including the technology add-on.

Commissioners rejected all six bids and sent the project back to Kimball for a thorough review, in cooperation with the West Virginia Office of the State Fire Marshal.

Vidas said the health department project will be bid separately at a later time.

“Together, the cost was too much, so we’re going to separate the projects,” he said.

Other changes include modifying the roofing, lighting and siding specifications and getting rid of “some of the niceties,” Vidas said, noting that Kimball is not billing the county for its additional work on the project.

In other business Thursday, commissioners:

Agreed to participate in the state’s audit amnesty program for the recently-completed audit of Hancock County Parks and Recreation. The four-year audit covered the years 2009 to 2012. The amnesty program will cover the cost of the audit for 2009 and 2010, which are considered delinquent, as long as the county covers the cost for 2011 and 2012, Vidas said.

The cost for each year is $2,520, Vidas said. The state auditor’s office conducted the audit but has not released its findings. In April, the West Virginia legislature passed a law that established a one-time audit amnesty program for local governments with delinquent audit costs.

Agreed to have the property around Hancock County Magistrate Court surveyed. Commissioners want to move Magistrate Court away from its current location on South Court Street to the former Dollar General building on North Chester Street. Commissioners bought the building in February for $232,000.

Vidas said the Magistrate Court property boundaries need to be clearly defined in the event the building is sold, renovated or removed for additional parking. The boundaries currently are under dispute in a court case involving commissioners and New Cumberland attorney Larry Manypenny, whose office borders Magistrate Court and who claims ownership of the land up to and including the enclosed staircase of the courthouse.

In documents filed in Hancock County Circuit Court, Manypenny said he and commissioners both had the land surveyed in 2009 and that the surveyors’ conclusions were in agreement.

Gave a check for $15,000 to E. Mark Knabenshue, executive director of Hancock County Senior Services. Knabenshue said the money will help supplement the salaries of administrative and executive staff at the agency’s headquarters on Gas Valley Road.

Attested to the fact that the New Manchester Volunteer Fire Department followed IRS guidelines for the purchase of 18 self-contained breathing apparatuses and for the refinancing of the 2012 International tanker truck. The department entered into a lease-purchase agreement to purchase the air bottles in an aggregate principle amount not to exceed $233,000.

Commissioner Jeff Davis said even though the county acts as a co-signer to the financing agreement, it does not become obligated for the financial obligations of the volunteer fire department.

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