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County balks at price tag for plans of bigger building
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Effingham County commissioners have rejected an additional pay request for a firm designing a new sanitation department office.

Since its original concept, a public works administration office has been added to the plans, increasing the size of the building.

“We’ve been through three, four different floor plans for this building,” county project manager Adam Kobek said. “We have gone through no engineering, but we did increase the size of the building.”

Commissioners selected Kern-Coleman as the design team in September 2010 after receiving proposals from three different firms.

The firms were asked to come up with concepts for site improvements to the landfill and to address traffic flow into the site. They also were asked to design a concept for an environmental education center that could house up to 200 people and seat up to 100 with offices, an outdoor classroom and a pole barn for recycling bins.

In April, commissioners issued a work authorization to Kern-Coleman to provide a set of building plans. Originally, the building was going to be approximately 1,900 square feet and include office and storage space for four people, before the inclusion of public works space.

“It’s just an additional 800 square feet of office space,” Kobek said.

Under the agreement, Kern-Coleman is receiving $12,500 for architectural and engineering services.

Kern-Coleman asked commissioners for $10,700 to complete the plans for the building. Of that, $1,700 will go toward geotechnical services since the building is being moved across the street.

“I can’t say I’m in favor of this. I think it’s exorbitant. I told them, ‘I think this price is a little high. Is this the best you can do?’”Kobek said.

According to county figures, it would cost $8,500 to add 800 square feet, under Kern-Coleman’s request.

“To add 800 square feet for $8,500?” asked Commissioner Steve Mason. “No, it’s not reasonable.”

With the planned larger building, there were issues with a drainfield and sight line concerns, prompting relocating the proposed building to a spot across the street.

The county had agreed to a building price of about $100 per square foot and as of now, the building proposed will be 2,796 square feet.

The county will meet with Kern-Coleman to negotiate on the price for plans on the larger building.

County commissioners also agreed to provide a space at the county annex at no charge to the Effingham County Victim Witness Assistance Program. The county would be held harmless under the agreement and the agreement also would save Victim Witness $1,200 a year.

The county charges rent to Department of Family and Children Services, the Department of Juvenile Justice and LifeStar.