The Madison County Court Annex in Richmond needs a new air conditioning system, and it could cost as much as $500,000.
That was the opinion of Baccus Oliver of Marcum Engineering, when he presented his findings and proposed solutions during a Tuesday teleconference meeting of the court.
The annex, which was built in
2005 and is located at the corner of Second Street and West Irvine Street, has gotten along with a chronically inefficient air conditioning system, Oliver said, which not only fails to adequately cool the building in summer, but is also energy inefficient and not environmentally friendly. Oliver said one of the main problems is the system’s fluid cooler, which is at the end of its service life and requires constant flushing with city water to remain in operation.
The building is currently 75 percent occupied, but with the offices of the County Clerk moving into that facility, the building capacity will be nearly at 100 percent, and will further strain the HVAC system, Oliver said. With that in mind, Oliver offered the Fiscal Court two options: either fix the system beginning in January, or wait another year until the winter of 2022, in which case the cooling system might fail in the meantime.
“We need to do this ahead of the next cooling season because we may not make it through the next cooling season if we move the County Clerk in and if we start having troubles with the fluid cooler,” Oliver said. “You cannot change a cooling system when the building is occupied in the summer months. You are in the position, unfortunately, of having to make a decision for the upcoming year now.”
Marcum Engineering suggested a $438,000 option to replace the system, beginning in January of 2021, with additional features to increase efficiency for another $100,000.
At one point in the discussion, Magistrate Larry Combs asked whether the engineer could fix the critical issues first, allowing the county to keep the system operational for a while instead of having to come up with the whole $438,000 at once. Oliver said it would be possible to choose which components to install.
Following the report, Madison County Judge/Executive Reagan Taylor said he would work with County Treasurer Glenna Smith to determine how the county could pay for a new HVAC system. He said he would also work with Marcum Engineering to get a more definitive picture of how precisely much the county would save on energy costs with a new system. The county will also explore phasing in a new system over three years instead of replacing it all at once, Taylor said.
In other business, the court heard the first reading of a revised ordinance establishing a Bluegrass Regional Radio Network inter-local agreement. The updated draft agreement between Madison County, Scott County/Georgetown and the University of Kentucky would stipulate how much each entity is investing in emergency communication infrastructure, and it sets the dividends for participating entities.
Under the agreement, the four entities will establish an emergency communication network from Scott County to Rockcastle County, which can be joined by other local governments in the region for a subscription free. The proceeds from that arrangement are to be divided between re-investment in the system and dividends distributed to the founding entities as follows: Madison County 26%, University of Kentucky 26%, and Scott County/Georgetown with a combined eight percent dividend.
Madison County will be contributing $5 million in infrastructure, Taylor said, part of an initiative to get Madison prepared to move beyond CSEPP funding, which currently supplements much of the county’s emergency communications system because of the ongoing chemical weapons neutralization project at the Blue Grass Army Depot. The new system can allow Madison County to have a new emergency communications system that can actually bring in revenue. “At the end of the day, we’re saving taxpayer money, which is why we’re here. I think this is really going to be good for our region,” Taylor said.
The court also heard the first reading of a zone change for 3241, 3245, 3249 Old Kentucky Highway 52. The ordinance recommends a change from RC 7 rural agriculture to RC 1 rural corridor single family residential, noting the proposed zoning is consistent with surrounding residential zoning. The first reading was approved unanimously.
Madison County Jailer Steve Tussey reported the home incarceration program has been a success for the county, saving the county approximately $475,000 in the last fiscal year. Tussey noted 66 people are currently in the program, and it is growing. He added the county can expect to save anywhere between $550,000 and $600,000 in the coming fiscal year.