Commission approves justice center parking expense

Updated: Mar 10

MOUND CITY – After several weeks where a decision about the parking lot for the new Linn County Justice Center seemed to be in limbo, the Linn County Commission on Monday, Feb. 14, voted to approve a plan to address the problem.

Original plans for the center included demolishing the courthouse annex building to create ample parking spaces in front of the new building. But last month commissioners decided to keep the annex, and the justice center contractor offered a plan to create additional spaces by reconfiguring the lot and adding spaces west of the justice center.

Several weeks after it was first brought up, the commissioners decided to approve the change order for the parking lot. The total cost with the change was $208,708, which included the additional cost of $42,992 for the changes.

When the additional cost was originally presented on Jan. 24, Commission Chair Jim Johnson was reluctant to pay for it, because they were only gaining four parking spaces for about $43,000.

Commissioner Danny McCullough questioned the price of the concrete and wondered if it should be put out for bids again.

However, with almost no discussion in open session, commissioners on Monday went ahead to approve the cost including the additional charge.

Another issue that was discussed was the burial of a low-hanging telephone line that ran across the parking lot. The commissioners approved moving forward with the burial of the telephone line at a cost of up to $6,700 on a 2-1 vote. Johnson said he did not think that burying the line was necessary and voted against the measure.

The third parking lot issue was the moving of a utility pole that sits in front of the entry to the new justice center. The commissioners voted 2-1 to have Evergy proceed with the moving of the pole for the amount of $14,330. Johnson voted no.

County Counselor Gary Thompson said there were two reason the pole needed to be moved. One was because the redesign of the parking lot leaves the pole in the parking lot. The second was because the pole sits right in front of the entry area to the building.

McCullough said that, in the meeting with the construction company, they learned that if the pole is left there, there will be more engineering costs for the redesign than it costs to move the pole.

In a later phone call, Johnson said that the pole had already been moved once and he felt that the construction company should have been looking out for the county’s interests the first time it was moved.

Because the first move was not well planned, Johnson said, he thought that the construction company should pay for moving the pole.

In the meeting, Thompson then told the commissioners that the electrical service into the annex was going to need to be replaced. It will need to be done after the demolition of the parking lot but before the concrete is poured.

Thompson said that currently the commission has only one bid, and that is from Apple Electric. He said he did not want to give the numbers, because there are still three other companies that said they were interested that have not yet turned in bids.

If the bids do not come back soon, he said, they will be moot because the service needs to be in the ground as soon as the demolition is done.

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