An incident over the weekend expedited the need to address an issue at the Harvey County Detention Center, one on a laundry list of needed improvements Sheriff Chad Gay has highlighted to the county commission in the past.


Following a power outage that caused trouble with the detention center's hot water boilers, Gay and administration came before the Harvey County Commission on Tuesday with a pair of maintenance proposals for the governing body to consider — one upgrading the main HVAC control panel at the the detention center and one addressing all the individual control units around the detention center.


"The main control panel in the detention center is not functioning appropriately, which means that all the outlying units aren't getting the communication they need," said County Administrator Anthony Swartzendruber. "Additionally, whenever we have a trouble-shooting issue, C&C (Group, the current controls contractor) can't just remote in and get maintenance guidance on what needs to be done."


C&C Group has held the contract for the detention center's HVAC control panels since it was built, proposing costs of roughly $26,000 to upgrade the main panel (Option 1) or nearly $59,000 to upgrade that main panel and replace all existing individual controllers (Option 2). It was noted that $55,000 was budgeted in the sheriff's 2019 capital improvement plan for such a project.


Questions were raised by commissioners on if they should look at moving forward with both options currently, which administration stated was possible but not a necessity. The sheriff's office had budgeted for Option 1 in the 2019 capital improvement plan, and it was noted that the upgraded main control would still work with the individual controls that would remain.


"Option One, that would definitely be a good start," Gay said.


"We're just kind of taking this as more of a phased approach just because of the urgency of trying to get Option One done," Swartzendruber said. "It's something that needs to be replaced and should have been replaced."


Knowing that the old units would still be compatible with the upgraded control gives the county some time to make a decision on Option 2 and take a more "piecemeal" approach, as Commissioner Chip Westfall said. Reserving funding would allow the county to replace those units as needed, or allow it to be able to address other issues that may pop up at the detention center. It was also noted the work would specifically focus on HVAC control panels, not other control panels (like doors).


The county commission ultimately approved moving forward with Option 1 with C&C Group to upgrade the main HVAC control panel at the detention center at a cost of $25,794, waiving purchasing policy.


In other business, the county commission:



Heard an update from the Harvey County Economic Development Committee on new projects brought to the organization and information recently presented to the EDC by Kansas Global Trading Services about grant opportunities to increase local exports.


Learned that Harvey County Solid Waste has received clearance from the Kansas Department of Health and Environment to move forward with the first phase of expansion of the Construction and Demolition landfill.


Was informed by Harvey County health director Lynnette Redington that local partners are staying informed and prepared regarding the coronavirus threat.


Received a report on sales tax distributions, which were up 10% from where they were in 2018.


Reviewed a proclamation on Flood Safety Awareness Week issued by Gov. Laura Kelly.


Heard about information planned to be shared by the Emergency Management Department during Severe Weather Awareness week this week, while also being invited by director Gary Denny to the Safety Fair the department is hosting on Saturday.


Learned that, though seeking quotes, the Solid Waste department is now receiving better rates on tire recycling, while Superintendent Justin Bland said that Newton haulers have also been allowed to start recycling back up at the transfer station — with no loads being rejected this past week.


Was informed of current culvert replacement projects on Halstead Road being taken on by the Road and Bridge Department.


Accepted the review of the annual exemption for Budde Enterprises, authorizing the commission chair to sign.


Gave direction for County Treasurer Emily Nichols to contact individuals/businesses about assistance with delinquent property tax collections, having received no bids for services following previous advertisements.