The construction of the Madison County Jail in the early 2000s was a nightmare project, with a lengthy checklist of construction problems that led to a prolonged legal entanglement between county commissioners and several companies involved.
Now, county leaders plan to expand the 64-bed jail by 32 beds, adding an additional pod to the current two. And they want to avoid all the previous headaches.
“I don’t want to get in a situation that happened last time,” said BOC chairman Anthony Dove, who was elected after that project.
Dove said putting out “requests for proposals” or “RFPs” is a key component of a major construction project. And the BOC agreed to hire an engineer with experience in such projects to help develop the RFPs for the expansion.
Wayne Wilbanks, who has helped the Oconee County government in construction projects, will work for Madison County on an as-needed basis for $110 per hour. County attorney Mike Pruett said Wilbanks is highly reputable and has a history of helping leaders bring projects in under budget.
Madison County’s jail committee is scheduled to meet again Wednesday, Dec. 4, at 9 a.m. to discuss the jail expansion project. The public is invited to attend and offer input.
TRAFFIC LIGHT IN FRONT OF INGLES?
In an unrelated matter Monday, board members talked about Hwy. 29 safety concerns. County commissioners have spent years trying to get the state Department of Transportation to put a traffic light at Hwy. 29 and Old Danielsville Road in front of Ingles. But DOT officials have refused, saying their traffic studies show a light isn’t warranted. Meanwhile, board members pointed out that a traffic light will be installed down Hwy. 29 at the planned Kroger.
BOC members continue to emphasize that a light is needed in front of Ingles. Commissioner Mike Youngblood has noted the frequency of accidents at that intersection. And board members also say a light would make access to the large grocery store and the neighboring veterans’ clinic more convenient and safe. On Monday, commissioners agreed to have BOC chairman Anthony Dove see if the Madison Athens Clarke Oconee Regional Transportation Study (MACORTS) fund a traffic study at the intersection. Dove suggested that the county conduct its own private traffic study. He asked board members if they’d be willing to seek estimates on the cost of such a study. Commissioner Stanley Thomas suggested that the board seek help on the study from MACORTS. And BOC members agreed to make this their next course of action.
RECLASSIFICATIONS IN ROAD DEPARTMENT
Also Monday, the commissioners allowed road department director Alan Lapczynski to use funds from an eliminated position in his department to adjust classifications and pay for all but three people in the department. Lapczynski, Lisa Hattaway and recent hire Hershal Dalton won’t receive any pay increases. The overall department budget will stay the same.
In other matters, commissioner Youngblood said he’d like to have Spratlin Mill Road paved under the Local Maintenance and Improvement Grant (LMIG) program. Commissioner John Pethel said he’d like to have Transco Road widened and resurfaced. The BOC will get cost estimates on projects in all five county districts, then submit plans to the state by the end of the year. The board has received over $500,000 in LMIG funding for 2014, but the county must match 30-percent of that money.
The board approved a hiring for a vacant board of assessors’ office position. The group approved two people to serve as-needed for courthouse security.