Davison County can’t find a fix for moisture problem at jailA continuing moisture problem needs repair, but the county can’t find a company interested in doing it.
By: Tom Lawrence, The Daily Republic
Anybody want to fix the Davison County Jail showers?
No one has submitted a bid to do the job despite repeated requests, the Davison County Commission was told Tuesday morning during a meeting at the courthouse in Mitchell. A continuing moisture problem needs repair, but the county can’t find a company interested in doing it.
“Nobody’s contacted us to even come take a look,” said Maintenance Supervisor Mark Ruml.
“Everybody’s busy. They’re making money,” Commission Chairman John Claggett said. “It would be a great winter project. We’ve got to get it done. We’ve got deterioration going on.”
The shower walls are a mesh of concrete and steel. They have been damaged by the showers and need to be repaired as soon as possible, the commissioners said. They directed staff to start calling firms and offering them the job. It is the only remaining option, they said. “Yeah, we’ve done due diligence,” Claggett said. Auditor Susan Kiepke said the county can call for quotes as long as it uses the same specifications.
Deputy Don Radel, the county jail administrator, said the answer may be to take the showers out and put in concrete block showers. There are eight stand-up showers in pods, and two more in segregated areas. There also are some moisture problems by toilets, Radel said. “Pretty much anywhere that there’s water, you’re having this reaction,” he said. The jail has also had ventilation issues that have been repaired, but Radel said the county needs to complete repairs on its security system.
The commission voted to spend $5,200 to do repairs on two cell doors that do not lock electronically, four door position switches that show they are open when they are locked and the south lobby entrance, which does not lock properly. One of the amplifiers in the jail public address system is not working, so that will also be fixed.
“I’d like to see a jail with operating doors,” Claggett said. “Just my thing.”
There are four pods in the jail, which opened in 1984. They contain 37 cells; the two with lock problems are not being used, Radel said. The cells do lock with a key, so they could be used if the jail is full.
There are also three segregation cells. In total, there are 72 beds in the jail. On Tuesday, 23 inmates were being held.
In addition, an electronic door panel needs to be upgraded, but that repair was not authorized Tuesday.
A crew from Security & Assets Control System (SGTS), a Verona, Wis., firm, will be in the area this year, probably in November, to do the work, Radel said.
There is virtually no escape risk tied to the problems, he said, since the showers are located inside the cells. The cells that are being used still lock.
The only escape in the history of the facility was in the mid-1990s, about two years after it opened, Radel said. Three inmates pried open a ceiling panel and made their way out of the jail through a narrow passageway. They were recaptured and the design flaw was corrected.
iPads for commissioners?
The commissioners heard from Ramon Shultz of Tech Solutions, who offered a proposal for “paperless commission meetings.” The commission sought the input.
Schultz said it was not a sales pitch, but he is the contracted information technology consultant with the commission. Apple tablets are by far the most popular, he said. Tech Solutions, a Santel Company, does not sell Apple products, but the staff feels the Apple iPad is the best product on the market. He owns one himself.
“My recommendation is Apple,” Schultz said. “Stick with the iPad.”
He said a Third Generation 16GB WiFi iPad sells for $499, but the commission may get a better price buying several at once. The commissioners would buy the devices and then receive a stipend from the county. They could then have the iPads for personal use as well.
The purchases would likely take place at the end of the year, with a new commissioner coming on board in January to replace outgoing Commissioner Jerry Fischer.
Kiepke would also get one, and other department heads may as well, the commission decided. Brookings County uses the devices and would never consider going back, Claggett said.
Schultz will provide assistance to the commissioners as they adapt to the iPads, he said. Getting used to them will be “a little nerve-racking,” Claggett said.
The commissioners should all have a davisoncounty.org email address, Schultz said. It would be the best way to conduct county business and distribute agendas. Going to electronic devices will save “many, many reams of paper,” Commissioner Denny Kiner said.
Kiepke said it will help her as well. She will have to load up and transfer much less paper, she said.
Schultz also mentioned recording the commission meetings and making them available to the public. It would cost about $2,000 to buy the needed equipment, he said, and perhaps should be done when the commission relocates to its new location in the former Central Electric building.
“We have to get there,” Claggett said. “There just is no option.”
County resident Orville Stevenson said the speed limit for trucks on County Road 254, also known as old Highway 16, should be 40 mph. It currently is 55.
The county will consider an ordinance to lower the truck speed limit on the road at a future meeting.
Stevenson, the “self-appointed mayor of Betts,” said there are too many people living along the road to allow trucks to drive by at a higher rate of speed. He wants the lower speed limit from mile markers 403 to 408 instead of the proposed 405 to 408.
The number of houses on that twomile stretch is “pretty significant,” he said.
“People ain’t got any common sense anymore,” Stevenson said. “They’re in too d*** big a hurry.”
Board of Adjustment
The commissioners sat as the Board of Adjustment to:
• Approve a variance of 20 acres to allow a 5-acre residence at the northeast quarter of Section 17, Township 102 North, Range 60 West in Prosper Township. It was sought by Bill Nebelsick for his daughter. The county Planning and Zoning Commission had recommended approval. The commission also approved a plat for the project.
• Approve a variance for a 37-foot setback to construct a detached pole garage at a property at 26364 411th Ave. as requested by Bill Nesheim. The mandated setback is 75 feet. The county Planning and Zoning Commission had recommended approval.
• Set 10 a.m. Oct. 30 for a liquor license transfer for Wild Oak. The business’ sales tax number does not match with the liquor license and that needs to be rectified, Kiepke said.
In other business, commissioners:
• Signed the state and local agreement quarterly report so Emergency Manager Jim Montgomery can report to the state Emergency Management Department that he is compliant. The majority of his funding comes from the state.
• Discussed preparing a transition process as Planning and Zoning Administrator Dan Sudrla prepares to retire. Sudrla has told the commission he is considering retirement. The commission is pondering hiring an assistant to work with him and prepare to assume the duties when he departs. Kiner said he feels the office needs an assistant anyway.
• Gave Highway Superintendent Rusty Weinberg permission to purchase a sign facing machine for $1,716.74, including shipping. The machine would reface signs better than how the county currently repairs them. It’s “a lot more efficient,” Weinberg said, and would be cheaper than buying new signs. It would pay for itself in about a year, he said. The primary problem is signs being shot, but they also wear down over the years, Weinberg said. Many are stolen.
• Supplemented the sheriff’s budget by $874.15. The money came from a federal grant to pay for DUI patrols.
• Changed the date of the first meeting in November from Nov. 6 to Nov. 8 due to a conflict with Election Day.
• Approved bills and time sheets.
• Noted that Commissioner Jerry Fischer was absent. He has missed the last four meetings and also has not attended committee meetings. Commissioners are paid about $13,000 a year. If they attend one meeting every three months, they are still paid, Kiepke said. Fischer, the sole Democrat on the commission, had knee surgery, his fellow commissioners said. He took his name off the ballot after initially filing for another term and is not seeking re-election.