|With the county jail as a backdrop, a parcel of county land has been put to more use as a parking lot by neighbors since plans were scrapped to build an ambulance garage at the site. County commissioners said last week that they plan to build an expansion to the sheriff's office, including an impound yard and secure storage facility at the site, located just north of 100 North between 100 West and 200 West in Price.|
Carbon officials released plans last week to change the proposed location of an impound and storage facility for the county sheriff's department.
After construction estimates placed the cost of the new facility at $1.2 million, county officials determined that costs could be reduced if the building were constructed at an alternate site.
The facility would offer a secure location to store vehicles such as the SWAT and other special use vehicles. Currently, the vehicles are not as secure as law enforcement would like them to be.
"We've got that SWAT truck and all the SWAT equipment in it. Anybody can get over that fence and get access to that stuff," said Chief Deputy Sheriff Guy Adams.
Building a vehicle impound yard and storage facility will help guarantee the chain of evidence and keep county law enforcement materials secure.
When planning the facility, Carbon commissioners estimated the county would need at least $771,000. The county offiicials requested the designated frevenues from the Utah Permanent Community Impact Fund Board.
The CIB offered a funding package to the county, one-half as a grant and one-half as a zero percent loan.
Yet after planning to build the facility, the estimated cost exceeded the CIB funding package by more than $400,000.
County planning director Dave Levanger told commissioners that a building of the type and construction planned should cost approximately $76 per square foot.
For the 9,500 square foot impound and storage facility, estimates placed cost of construction closer to $126 per square foot.
Carbon officials had recognized the inflated costs of materials.
But county planning director Dave Levanger also pointed out to Carbon officials that much of the expense of constructing the impound and storage facility is a result of excavation and other costs specific to the original proposed site.
Levanger explained that selection of an alternate site for the facility would most likely reduce the costs in question.
Originally planned to be constructed behind the current sheriff's office and county jail, the addition would consume nearly all of the available expansion space on the lot.
Parking would be reduced by one-half and the county would lose the option of adding 50 to 60 more beds to the jail in the future.
When Carbon officials were planning the county ambulance garage, currently nearing completion on Airport Road, the commissioners approved the purchase of property north of 100 North on 100 West in Price near the Gas-N-Go.
After deciding to build the ambulance garage elsewhere, the county still has the parcel available for construction of the impound and storage facility.
"We own the property. Let's put a building there," suggested Sheriff James Cordova. "It's not that far from the sheriff's office that we can't work with it."
The site is less than 500 feet away from where the construction project was originally planned. The property is located close enough that the county law enforcement department can monitor the facility using the same security system that is currently in place at the sheriff's office.
The sheriff also pointed out that original plans for the impound yard were modified to match the existing facility and to be more sightly as people enter the city on 100 North.
Moving the facility opens the option of changing construction materials and design, which could result in additional cost savings to the county.
"I don't think we can throw up a shack," said Cordova, explaining that whatever is built will still be sightly and functional. "But it doesn't have to match the jail if we move it a half-block away."
Still, commissioners do not expect to reduce the cost down the current level of CIB funding. The building had been built as an impound yard and storage facility with an exercise and workout room.
Over time, offices and other areas have been added as the department has run out of space in its current facility.
The cost of the additions, coupled with increased prices for materials, is expected to keep the expenditures for the project elevated.
Levanger explained that the cost of construction has gone up with most of the buildings built by the county in the past couple of years.
Part of that is the delay - often a year or more - between when the county gets cost estimates and when it breaks ground. During the year in question, county officials often seek grants and loans.
But by the time the counties are ready to begin construction, funding is often inadequate to cover the escalated costs.
In the past, the county has approached the CIB about supplemental funds to cover the increased costs. But that option may not be available as much as it was in the past, said Commissioner Mike Milovich.
Milovich explained that the community impact funding board has received requests totaling significantly more than the amount of available revenues.
Still county officials aim to request a supplement if it's available to help defer the increased costs of construction.
The commission instructed staff to have current plans adjusted to apply to the new site.
Once the adjustments to the existing plan are completed, the county can approach Price city about getting the necessary new building permits and conditional use permits to proceed with constructing the vehicle impound and law enforcement storage facility.