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Bids on county jail project come in way over estimates

Posted: Sun, Nov 4, 2018 10:57 AM

Winneshiek County Supervisors Monday morning opened bids on the proposed remodeling of the County Jail--and they got a big shock.

The proposed project calls for updating some security cameras and installing additional security cameras as part of an overall update of the jail's computer network.  The current jail technology is nearly 20 years old. Also specified is an update to the jail control room and the addition of video visitation capabilities.

The county's engineering consultant--Shive, Hattery Engineering--had estimated the cost of the remodeling would be between $250,000 to $300,000.  Instead, the lowest bid--from See Electric of Decorah--came in at $694,198.  A second bid from Carl Nelson Co. came in at $792,000.

Since the two bids were in the same neighborhood, county officials didn't question the bids, but they expressed unhappiness with the work of the consulting engineering firm.  Sheriff Dan Marx noted the bids were "well over 100 percent higher" than the estimated bids and said he would be asking Shive, Hattery to reduce the fees it was charging the county,

Supervisors took no action on the bids Monday.