Warren County officials reject all bids for new justice center

Local News

INDIANOLA — After convening for an emergency meeting on Tuesday morning to discuss the bids for a new justice center in Warren County, the board of supervisors has decided not to take any of the bids for construction.

During a public hearing regarding the plans and specifications for the estimated cost for the Warren County Justice Center, supervisors discussed what to do about budgeting issues for the project. They were considering 13 bid packages for the justice center for a variety of projects, from roofing, tiling, general building construction, and so on.

“Just because there’s a path to make this building in this location , doesn’t mean in my mind that’s the right path,” says Vice Chair Supervisor Aaron DeKock.

Warren County’s square now lies empty and could stay that way for a while after the latest decision by the board of supervisors.

The supervisors say there was a major disconnect in price points between the builders and the county.

“We have directed you on the budget. We have directed you on the square footage of the building, what more do you need?,” says Board Chair Crystal McIntyre.

Builders contend it was always going to be closer to $34 million dollars.

The public’s frustration is growing as well. “People wanted it on the square. You pull it off the square, you might as well level the whole thing and make it into a big park,” says Indianola resident Rick Ruble.

The major hangup? Square footage. The county wants about 80,000, but builders say the latest bond referendum only covers 73,000. So, a lot would be left out.

“I think we’ve been pretty clear since last year what the budget was, and you may say we told you it’s going to be $33 million or more, when you knew what the budget was going in,” says McIntyre.

As they head back to the drawing board, frustration is evident on both sides of the issue.

Keep in mind that while all of this is happening, Warren County has shifted its court services and its inmates to Marion and Madison counties. It’s been this way for about a year now and Warren County taxpayers are paying for those extra costs.

©TEGNA Inc. 2019. All Rights Reserved.