PSC loan request surprises officials

Commissioner's plan to borrow money

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"What we have here is a failure to communicate," the warden said in the movie "Cool Hand Luke."

Moffat County Sheriff Buddy Grinstead said the exact same thing when it comes to the Moffat County Public Safety Center budget.

The Moffat County Commissioners hope to borrow an extra $2.1 million, $583,000 of which is needed for the safety center. The addition was news to Grinstead.

"We haven't been involved in any of the value engineering or the financial aspects since the inception of the project," said Grinstead. "To date, I don't know of any reason why it would be over budget."

Grinstead hasn't been happy with the value engineering aspect of the project a process where certain amenities can be deleted to stay within budget. He said the only people involved in the deletion of certain parts of the project were the commissioners, the architects and project manager Jim Robertson.

The value engineering concept leaves Sheriff's Department employees scratching their heads when they visit the site and find important aspects of the facility missing.

Grinstead used a security camera as an example. There is one cell that can't be seen from the control center because a wall blocks the view. To compensate, Grinstead budgeted for a camera to monitor the area. Grinstead was surprised when he arrived at the site and found the camera had been cut during the value engineering stage.

"We had to reorder the camera," Grinstead said.

Grinstead is still proud of the facility and credits its efficient layout to cooperation and hard work between law enforcement agencies.

"The commissioners had no other involvement other than the value engineering," he said.

The value engineering process could cost the county more money in the future, Grinstead said.

A 1,500 square-foot warehouse was valued engineered down to 500 square feet. He said it won't allow the county to purchase food and goods for bulk prices.

"We're to the point that we're value engineered to not save any great amounts of money in the future," Grinstead said.

A similar situation occurred with the personnel needed to run the new facility. During the design phase of the project, the Sheriff's Department said it needed nine people to run the jail for it to remain secure. That was fine until the commissioners informed Grinstead they would only allow four people to run the jail.

"If they can't give me the man power I expected, I'm going to have to inform them they won't be receive the revenue from accepting other counties' prisoners," Grinstead said. "I'm just afraid we're creating another unsafe working environment like the Youth Care Center."

The issue will be debated at the upcoming County Commissioner meeting Dec. 5 during an executive session.

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