Logan County Board refines
courthouse restoration procedures and financial processes
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[October 22, 2020]
On Tuesday, October 6th, the Logan County Board held a special
meeting to vote on several action items related to the courthouse
Action items included:
- A MRTS Contract Amendment
Building and Grounds Chairman David Blankenship had Bill Walter of
MRTS clarify the responsibilities of the Construction Technical
Committee and the Transition Committee.
Walter wants to make sure there is not any overlap in these
committees or supposition of one committee having authority over the
other. Walter said he has submitted his suggestions to State’s
Attorney Brad Hauge for approval.
Blankenship motioned to approve the contract language subject the
state’s attorney’s approval.
- MRTS recommendations regarding the Construction Technical
Committee and the Transition Committee
Blankenship’s motion to adopt the Logan County Courthouse
Restoration Project responsibility chart for the Tech Committee and
the Transition Committee was unanimously approved. Blankenship said
these guidelines can be amended down the road if needed.
Financial check and balance system for courthouse expenses
Some items had to do with payments for the restoration related
With the restoration account payable process, Blankenship said he
does not want to be responsible for vouchering payments for the
restoration. Since Blankenship is directly working with the
construction management firm CTS as well as project management firm
MRTS, he feels others should voucher payments.
Blankenship is proposing the Construction Technical Committee review
the work and say it has been done. That committee would then make
recommendations to the Building and Grounds Committee. The Building
and Grounds Committee would then initiate the payment process.
Building and Grounds would forward the confirmation onto the Finance
Committee for payment approval. Payments would be done through the
Finance Committee. This way, Blankenship said he does not have a
conflict of interest and there would be more checks and balances.
The board unanimously approved Board Vice Chairman Scott
Schaffenacker’s motion to make the Finance Committee responsible for
the restoration account payable process.
Dome scaffolding bids were next brought forward. Blankenship said
the Construction Technical Committee has recommended securing the
services of American Scaffolding Incorporate. The total cost would
be $504,830; which includes $305,840 for the over-all project, plus
an additional six-month crane and scaffolding rental allowance of
$198,990, contingent upon four criteria being met.
Blankenship said first the tech committee recommended the county
obtain a current liability and workman’s compensation certificate of
insurance. They need to verify the rider’s policy status. The limits
will be set by the county board. Blankenship has also requested an
engineer’s certified and stamped report to verify the structural
integrity of the courthouse. He wants to make sure the courthouse
can sustain the load limits.
Before proceeding with the work, Blankenship said they would also
need to obtain the engineer’s stamped drawings as related to the
scaffolding leg and tie loads.
Additionally, Blankenship said they need an MRTS investigative
report on potential savings associated with the extended scaffolding
Walter spoke to American Scaffolding Inc. about a discount on the
scaffolding and said the company is willing to give one. Blankenship
said initial costs minus the scaffolding rental had been projected
The engineer will need to approve the scaffolding. Blankenship said
it may take one to weeks to have the engineer stamp the approval. It
would take another ten days to two weeks to begin construction.
Though it may take two weeks to have the engineer stamp the drawing,
Walter said he may be meeting with the structural engineer next week
about where to place the scaffolding to compensate for the wind,
allow for proper support and avoid damage. He said the work may
begin sooner than two weeks after that.
Blankenship said there is a need to speed things up with CTS with
the dome repair portion of their construction management contract.
That way, Blankenship said they could go ahead and secure bids get
the dome started as soon as possible to avoid unnecessary
Blankenship’s motion to approve American Scaffolding Incorporated at
costs of $305,840 and a rental allowance of $198,090 for a total of
$504,830 passed unanimously (less scaffolding rental adjustments).
As the restoration gets underway, Blankenship asked about raising
the Building and Grounds Committee spending approval limits. If
limits are increased, the committee can avoid having emergency
meetings. Waiting for approvals could also cause delays. He asked
Walter to address how often the limits might be exceeded.
Walter said allowing these approvals would be best protocol for
smaller items and vendors approved. After Blankenship had talked to
several people, Walter said they decided raising limits makes more
sense. That way, Blankenship does not have to take it to the full
board for approval.
Based on what Walter has seen in other projects, he said setting a
limit of $225,000 to $250,000 for the overall committee would be a
workable amount. This amount should satisfy occasions that come up
when the spending limit needs to be higher.
Walter asked if Finance Committee Chairman David Hepler could lend
eyes and ears plus authority from a financial standpoint to these
Board member Annette Welch liked the suggestions. If the committee
had the higher spending limits, Welch asked about having the
authorizations signed off by both Board Chairman Emily Davenport and
Hepler. That way there is an extra set of eyes on it.
Blankenship said he supported that idea because he wants plenty of
eyes on it.
Initially every project has last minute items that jump up and
Walter said that is what they are looking at here. These expenses
would likely be frontloaded within the first three or four months.
After projects get underway, Walter said everything tends to smooth
Welch motioned to raise the Building and Ground Committee’s spending
limit to $250,000 specifically to courthouse restoration with the
Board Chairman and/or the Finance Committee Chairman signing off on
bills. She said the board could avoid waiting longer if decisions
could be made at the Building and Grounds Committee meetings.
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Schaffenacker asked how many signatures from board members are needed to sign
off. Davenport said six are needed.
Getting the Committee Chairman and Board Chairman plus four other members to
sign off on it was Schaffenacker’s suggestion.
Rather than calling an emergency meeting every time, Davenport said it may be
better to just have special Building and Grounds Committee meetings.
Since the payments would be made through the Finance Committee, Board Member Bob
Sanders asked if these items would go through that committee.
Blankenship said the Building and Grounds Committee would just be authorizing
work to occur up to a certain amount. The actual payment would go through
Finance. He does not want to have to call the Building and Grounds Committee to
order every time he needs approval for authorizing work to be done up to that
As far as the higher spending limits, Blankenship asked Walter how often he
envisioned needing them.
Looking at the project, Walter said it is rare that you have six times you need
the higher limits. Early on, Walter said these higher limits are likely to be
needed three or four times. After that it would be probably be once or twice in
the next eighteen months.
Schaffenacker motioned for the spending limits to expire November 30, 2022 and
be limited to a maximum of six times in that time frame.
Both the amendment and main motion were unanimously approved.
Next, Blankenship brought forward the MRTS recommendation to increase Building
and Grounds Committee chair spending limits. He asked the board to take up the
matter for the restoration only.
For Welch, the question was whether this limit was to authorize work or to spend
Blankenship said the limit is to authorize work up to a certain amount. He does
not foresee needing to exceed limits more than six times during the whole
restoration project. That would avoid him having to call a Building and Grounds
Committee meeting and delaying work until then. He would still present the
amounts to the Finance Committee.
Welch motioned to allow the Building and Grounds Chairman an increased spending
limit of up to $75,000 per occurrence specific to courthouse restoration no more
than six times ending November 30, 2022. It was unanimously approved
Other Building and Grounds Committee updates:
Orr building fiber costs. Blankenship said the bid is $17,630. Having internet
might not be necessary for the minimal use of the building. However, Blankenship
said it would be beneficial for the construction team to have internet access.
CTS has told him they have trouble using hotspots when they are trying to
transfer large data such as blueprints.
Having internet access in the building would also allow for livestreaming, which
Davenport said would be nice for meetings. Some people have requested that
meetings be livestreamed like the city does.
Welch asked if the fiber optic would be a restoration expense.
Since the construction manager and project manager would be using the building,
Blankenship said he could see where it could be justified as a construction
Due to being displaced from the courthouse because of covid, Davenport asked if
it might fall under covid reimbursable expenses.
The board approved Blankenship’s motion to have fiber optic put in.
The Orr Building would also be set up with mobile videoconferencing. Halpin said
it would be a television on a cart. He said most modern televisions will have a
USB or HDMI ports with a flat screen.
The television would be utilized at the Orr building. Blankenship said it would
be good to get a TV of substantial quality. Once the restoration is complete,
the television could then be used at the courthouse.
For protection, Halpin recommended having the television in a special case like
the one in the courthouse. That would help when moving the television across the
There was a question from Sanders about where the money will come from.
Since the Orr Building is being used during the restoration, Hepler asked
whether it could be a restoration expense.
Davenport and Blankenship said the costs could possibly be reimbursed under the
CARES (program for covid related expenses) since the Orr Building is being
utilized for social distancing.
For the playground equipment that will be put up at Latham Park, Blankenship
said the bid for installing equipment is $22,000. Since it is on county
property, it is a prevailing wage project. Revenue coming in from a $50,000
donation from one of the wind farms will help cover these costs. Blankenship is
hoping to have equipment installed before winter.
Welch asked if the donation could be used to repair the Scully Park fountain.
In response, Blankenship said he believes it could be used for the fountain
repair. Davenport said that is what was intended.
The donation is enough to help with both projects.
The board approved the $22,000 bid for Latham playground equipment.
Building and Grounds Committee updates
After the special meeting, a brief meeting of the Logan County Board’s Building
and Grounds Committee was held. Several updates were shared by Committee
Chairman David Blankenship.
Blankenship said the Courthouse Videoconferencing system has been installed and
The courthouse elevator that was repaired has passed inspection and is now in
Walter has met with a contractor to discuss what is needed for the payment drop
A lead-based paint inspection has been approved at a cost of $690.
Schaffenacker asked if it was for the whole courthouse.
Samples will be taken from every floor in the courthouse. Blankenship said he is
hoping that the quantity of samples are sufficient enough without the need to
acquire additional samples.