County board briefs

Aug. 14 meeting

n Steve Chapman, county administrator, informed board members the county expects a $4,056,331 budget shortfall between expected revenues and expenditures for fiscal year 2004, which begins Oct. 1.

n Jim Hughes (D-11) proposed short-term borrowing from the new jail tax to meet the county’s other 2004 budget needs. County Clerk Dave Johnson (R) said after the board meeting he may have to lay off staff if he must trim 9.3 percent from his proposed 2004 budget. Other county officials echoed Johnson’s sentiment.

The jail tax was approved by voters last fall to fund public safety issues. The jail tax increased the local sales tax July 1 from 6.25 percent to 7.25 percent and boosted the county’s total revenue by about 20 percent. However, not all budget funds increased by 20 percent. The jail tax is still expected to generate about $23 million this fiscal year. Last year’s county budget was about $117 million. Chapman said the total budget for fiscal year 2004 is $139 million.

The Rock River Times questioned the county’s jail tax priorities last fall in a series titled “The criminal justice–industrial complex.”

The Oct. 30 article reads: “…it may be less expensive and more effective to put a majority or greater percentage of tax dollars into the alternatives to jail, rather than pouring 73.7 percent of the $300 million [in total tax revenue], into building, staffing and maintaining a large new jail. Specifically, in order to alleviate jail overcrowding, further research and sources point to reforming the criminal justice system before building a new 975-bed jail.”

n By unanimous vote, the board approved a resolution for at least $6.5 million in construction management services to British and Florida-based Bovis Lend Lease, Inc., Iowa-based Ringland-Johnson, Inc., which has a Cherry Valley address and Rockford-based Scandroli Construction, Inc.

The team will primarily ascertain requirements for the project; review design documents; prepare and update the project schedule; advise the architect and Winnebago County about budget costs; recommend assignment of responsibilities for facilities and equipment; develop a safety program; develop and implement a community outreach program for local small and minority businesses; assist in identifying and verifying an equal opportunity program for inclusion in contracts; assist in working with labor and contractor organizations to encourage training and use of minority workers for the project; advise division of the project’s contracts and method used for selecting contractors and awarding contracts.

The contract includes $3.1 million in “construction manager’s compensation,” $2.9 million for “staff costs” and $500,000 for “reimbursables.”

The reimbursables include: purchase of a field office; computers; computer programs; computer equipment; non-local travel; local and long-distance telephone calls; safety supplies; “costs necessary to maintain and operate the job specific field office;” workers’ compensation insurance; employers’ liability insurance; commercial general liability insurance; commercial automotive liability insurance; umbrella and excess liability insurance; construction manager’s commercial general liability insurance; federal, state and local taxes and “charges for items not for a purpose listed above and which are deemed by construction manager to be necessary for or in connection with the performance of services and approved by the owner [Winnebago County] in advance.”

If $2.9 million for staff and $500,000 for reimbursables is not enough to cover estimated costs, the construction manager will notify the county in advance. If estimated jail construction extends beyond 14 months for pre-construction and 30 months for construction, the construction managers’ basic compensation of $3.1 million may be increased, according to the contract.

For both pre-construction and the construction phases, the construction management team will receive $70,455 per month for 44 months ($70,455 x 44 = $3.1 million). The contract reads the construction manager will receive $986,364 for pre-construction (14 months) and $2,113,636 for the construction phase (30 months).

John Mrowiec, Chicago construction contract attorney and writer, said the county appears to have negotiated an adequate contract, from a fiscal perspective. Mrowiec did not examine the actual contract–Mroweic based his opinion on details supplied to him by The Rock River Times.

Earlier this year, the county requested competitors for the construction manager position submit their qualifications, instead of proposals. The primary difference between a request for proposal and qualifications is that a proposal delineates cost for services. A request for qualifications emphasizes a firm’s attributes and does not delineate cost for services.

In April, four teams made presentations to the county board for the construction manager position. The team of Bovis/Scandroli/Ringland-Johnson was approved in late spring, after the board controversially rejected a previous committee’s revommendation of the Stenstrom/Gilbane team

Mrowiec said it was difficult for him to ascertain whether the county could have received the same level of service at a lower cost because the county did not ask competitors for the position for proposals rather than qualifications.

Sally Claassen, purchasing director and risk manager for the county, said selection of the construction manager “was more qualification based than price driven.” Claassen added the number of people and number of hours worked by the team’s executives and staff “is not cast in stone.”

As an example of how some of the executives may be compensated, Brent Johnson, project executive and president of Ringland-Johnson, Inc. will receive a “direct payroll expense” rate of $113.25 per hour. The construction management team estimates Johnson will work 224 hours or 5.6 weeks during the project’s 14-month, pre-construction phase. For Johnson’s less than six weeks of work, he will receive $25,368. During the 30 months of jail construction, the team estimates Johnson will work 480 hours or 12 weeks. For the 12 weeks, Johnson may receive $54,360.

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