Commissioners approve ambulance garage door

Cole County’s ambulance service will be getting one more new garage door at its base, 1736 Southridge Drive.

The three-member County Commission on Wednesday approved a purchase of not more than $4,500 from Capital Installers for the 14-foot-tall door that originally was installed in the building in 1985.

Emergency Medical Services Director Mike Shirts said Capital Installers offered the lowest price in a telephone bidding process, $4,050 “to the penny.”

“It’s been damaged a couple of times,” Shirts explained.

Bill Farr, the Jefferson City/Cole County emergency management director, told commissioners: “This is a non-insulated door now; the new door will be insulated to R-16 to match the other doors.”

That improvement could save money in the long run, Farr added.

“A lot of cold air comes through that door in the winter time,” he explained. “There’s one overhead furnace that faces that door and runs constantly — you can’t even shut it down in the winter time.”

Farr and Shirts also noted replacing the large door will help the renovated building look better.

“When all the doors are shut, now, you’ve got all the new facade and you’ve got that older door that really stands out in a bad way,” Shirts said.

Commissioners also decided to delay until next week a focused discussion on county government’s space needs, in the wake of an architect’s report that preliminary plans for a structure to replace the old jail and sheriff’s house will cost more than originally estimated.

“We need to talk about where we’re going to put people and where we’re going to move people,” Eastern District Commissioner Jeff Hoelscher said, “and what other costs are going to be involved.”

Part of the plan is to move county offices out of the Carnegie Building, which county government has operated for about 35 years — but would like to give to some other entity before it faces a $400,000 bill for a new roof and new heating/air conditioning equipment.

The assessor’s and public defender’s offices currently occupy the building.

Presiding Commissioner Marc Ellinger suggested that next week’s meeting include the assessor and prosecuting attorney, to discuss their future space needs.

Circuit court officials have argued the county needs a larger courtroom than the biggest one in the courthouse, because no space in the current courthouse can accommodate a pool of 100 potential jurors when a jury trial is beginning.

Hoelscher said Wednesday: “If we give ‘em the one (larger) courtroom, maybe we need to look at, possibly, taking one of the smaller courtrooms.

“I don’t know if we need five courtrooms — I know that they say we do.”

Hoelscher noted that the four current courtrooms aren’t used all the time, and one of the smaller courtrooms could be used for offices.

Commissioners on Wednesday didn’t discuss the possibility that lawmakers eventually will establish a fifth judge’s position for Cole County, because of the volume of state-related cases that have to be tried in Jefferson City because it’s the seat of state government.

One of the issues is money, with one estimate that county revenues will be down about $570,000 from current levels.

Although commissioners recently voted to keep the tax rates the same as last year, they were told that fees paid to the public administrator, recorder of deeds and the juvenile detention residential program all are expected to drop.

And the local use tax receipts are expected to be lower.

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