Sunday, March 18, 2018

The "West Annex" is attached to the old hospital and located below the Meadowlark Assisted Living facility in Columbus.

$44,000 in last 18 months for electrical work at “West Annex”

Stillwater County has paid approximately $44,000 for electrical work at the portion of the old hospital now referred to as the West Annex during the past 18 months, but exactly what all has been done is not documented in official public records.
The five most expensive claims paid out between November 2013 and January 2015 to Thunder Gulch Electric include $2,600 and $2,400 in November 2013; $3,100 in December 2013; $2,160 in December 2014; $1,025 and $1,675 in January 2015.
Because none of the five claims submitted by Thunder Gulch and signed by County Facilities Supervisor Jerry Bokma included any itemization, it is impossible to determine from the paperwork what exactly was done. (It is the county’s practice for the department head to sign invoices for claims before they are submitted to the commissioners for approval.)
With the exception of one claim, the invoices listed a date, hours worked, the phrase “hours electrical labor at West Annex,” an hourly rate and a total, according to the claims obtained from the county finance department.
Additionally, the county paid Mark Fjare Electric $20,601 for work done around May 2013. That claim was not immediately available for review as it is in county storage, but Fjare was able to tell the News it was preparation work for the four county offices that were relocated in that location in July 2013.
Stillwater County Commissioners requested more time to review the claims before answering questions about them.
That conversation will take place Monday morning and will be reported on in next Thursday’s paper.
One additional office is in the process of being moved to the West Annex, with $4,500 worth of work being done on a space to house the Stillwater County Extension Office. The other four offices were moved to “West Annex” in the summer of 2013. Those offices had previously been renting office space. The Extension Office is currently housed in the courthouse.
The old hospital was the location chosen by commissioners for the subject of a feasibility study completed in March 2013. At that time, Spectrum Group Architects estimated it would cost $2.62 million to remodel the old hospital. As it turns out, there is not sufficient space at the old hospital to house all the county offices.
A second feasibility study was done after department heads expressed dissatisfaction that more options were not being researched. Nearly two years later, Spectrum presented a total of four options in January.