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Justice Center: Committee cuts costs
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MONROE - The Green County Ad Hoc Justice Center Property Committee trimmed about $491,000 from the justice center construction budget Monday.

The committee's goal was to reduce the cost of the justice center construction to $10.9 million.

The Green County Board accepted a bid from J.P. Cullen of $11,272,872 July 8 by a 23-4 vote. Supervisors expressed concern at that meeting that the bid was more than what the county board originally anticipated as the cost of the project.

The county board also learned the total construction cost of the project was almost $11.4 million.

Tuesday, ad hoc committee members, representatives from J.P. Cullen and Ron Locast of Potter Lawson discussed four pages of items in order to make cuts in the final cost of the project. The goal, committee chairman Lloyd Lueschow said, was to reduce the project by about $491,000.

The committee was able to reach its goal by trimming several items from the justice center budget. The committee will update the entire county board at its August meeting.

The committee learned $130,000 could quickly be eliminated from the furniture budget of $430,000. Other savings to the project included about $10,000 from the anticipated demolition of the ag building by the Green County Sheriff's Department, and an extra $10,000 from the city for site preparation. In addition, the county has received about $60,000 in interest from the loan it took out to pay for the project. The interest could be used for the project, the committee learned.

Locast said after he talked to Cullen representatives, they came up with the list of possible items to eliminate from the project that wouldn't hurt the look or quality of the building.

Some of the items include reducing the amount of money spent for plants and landscaping, eliminating wood paneling in certain areas of the building and a reduction in the number of filing cabinets purchased for the building. Even the thickness of the asphalt from 3.5 inches to 3 inches would save the county $5,000. Further reductions in the furniture budget were also accepted.

Green County Board Chairman Art Carter told the committee the county wouldn't need to spend $350,000 for furniture for the building because furniture from the Courthouse could be used.

Board and committee member Harvey Mandel said some of the items eliminated from the building project could be put back in the future. Mandel didn't mention any specific items to put back into the project.

The county has a contingency budget of about $430,000 for the project. The money is available in case any unforeseen problems come up during construction. The amount of money in the contingency fund could be reduced and used to pay for add-on projects.

The committee also agreed to a contract with J&R Excavating to demolish the ag building. Demolition on the building was scheduled to begin today.