Benton Evening News - Benton, IL
  • Stalemate delays HVAC replacement at jail

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  • Franklin County Sheriff Don Jones and county board Building and Grounds committee chair Danny Melvin are losing sleep as they watch temperatures plummet.
    During Tuesday’s committee meetings, Melvin said the sheriff had received two bids to replace the aging heating and air-conditioning equipment at the county jail.
    Jones said the board had not accepted the lowest bid from F.W. Electric.
    Melvin said the bidder is at a stalemate about state statute.
    Jones said the bidder is concerned about the guaranteed energy savings contract, which is part of the Request for Proposals.
    Franklin County State’s Attorney Evan Owens said the bidder has to guarantee energy savings for 20 years. If that requirement is not met, the bidder pays the difference. Owens said negotiations continue.
    Melvin said he is nervous, adding he wanted to table an agenda item pertaining to the chiller warrantee at the county jail until the matter is resolved.
    He said $20,000 had previously been approved for the project.
    County treasurer John Gulley said that money is still in the vault.
    Owens said should the project have to be rebid, a public notice would have to be placed in the newspaper, creating another 10-day delay.
    Melvin cautioned county board members not to be surprised if they receive notification about the need for a special meeting in the future.
    Under the energy cost savings measure, the key is to educe energy consumption or operating costs and could include a number of items from insulating the building structure or systems within the building to installing storm windows or doors and caulking or weather stripping.
    Additional alternatives include an automated or computerized energy control system, heating, ventilating or air conditioning system modifications or replacements or replacement or modification of lighting fixtures to increase energy efficiency.
    Honeywell also submitted a request for proposal after reporting on the condition of the existing boiler system following a routine maintenance inspection.
    Jones said the boiler has been in the jail since the building was constructed more than 20 years ago.
    Honeywell representatives advised board members late last year that the system had outlived its performance life and should be replaced.
    Melvin said he and Jones are concerned that the system could fail during the cold winter months.
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