On Tuesday, the Dallas County Board of Supervisors officially approved the amount they will seek in the bond referendum for a new law enforcement center when it goes to a public vote in May, 2017. The amount they will seek is $22.9 million.
The amount they approved is slightly higher than the estimated cost of the facility, which is $22,814,221. The estimated cost is higher than the estimate the Samuels Group, the firm hired by the county to research the costs of the project, provided in July and includes increases of roughly $600,000 to install a geothermal heating and cooling system and $600,000 to expand the lagoon system out by the site near R16 on Highway 6 for water and sewage if they need to do that.
The county has been in talks with the city of Adel about expanding their water and sewage services out to the site, but a decision has not yet been made.
The estimated price tag also includes all the adminstrative costs and bond fees. Rob Tietz, operations director for Dallas County, said that Sid Samuels of the Samuels Group suggested that they round up to the nearest $100,000 when selecting an amount to bond out for.
Tietz said that the architectural costs for services by Design Alliance may be “a little strong” on the estimate that was presented to the board on Tuesday.
“Based on the contract that we have with Jerry's (Perdy of Design Alliance) firm, there's a sliding scale based on the project amount,” Tietz said. “Therefore, that number will likely be a little lower than that, but from a conservative standpoint, this is the number.”
He went on to say that the cost estimates are for a 2017 start date. If they were to push the start of the project back to 2018, the cost would increase about 4 percent, or roughly $900,000.
“It's very expensive to wait,” Tietz said.
Supervisor Brad Golightly expressed concern for making sure that they are requesting enough to complete the project as planned if there were to be unexpectedly higher costs than estimated.
“The worst thing in my mind that happens, and I've seen it happen a lot of different times in the school district where I live up at Perry, that we agree to bond for 'x' amount of dollars and then we get to the final plans and it costs more than we thought it was going to, for whatever reason,” Golightly said. “And then we start bushwhacking the plan and then we don't get what we thought we were going to get when we voted 'yes,' and that bothers me because I think sometimes we settle for a lot less than what we could have had.”
Tietz expressed his confidence in the estimates that the Samuels Group provided and stated that Clinton County, which passed a similar referendum this summer, bonded out for the exact number that Samuels recommended for them.
Exact tax impacts on Dallas County residents are still unknown, but Tietz said that an analysis will be done soon.
The project, which was officially approved to go to a referendum back in August, will hold the Dallas County Sheriff's Department with offices for all who work in law enforcement, as well as the jail.
The jail will be in a pod and will have the ability to expand with additional jail pods as the county continues to grow. At the meeting in August, Samuels said that in about 10 years, it would cost about $8 million to build an additional pod.
At that same meeting in August, board chairman, Mark Hanson, said that after two or three years, the debt service will return to what it was before the vote if the referendum passes this time around.
The bond referendum will need at least 60 percent “yes” votes to pass. Last year, a similar project received 52 percent “yes” votes.