County seeks bids for jail feasibility study

Published 3:00 am Wednesday, February 15, 2017

The Pike County Commission voted Monday to seek bids for a jail feasibility study, the first step in the process of potentially building a new jail.

Pike County Administrator Harry Sanders said the requests for proposals will be sent to several vendors and bids will be accepted until March 9.

The deadline will give the commissioners enough time to consider taking action at their March 13 meeting, Sanders said.

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Constructing the proposals took some learning on the go.

“This is something that I had never really done before,” Sanders said. “It’s like any other bid process except that this is unique in what’s being asked for. You have to give specifications on what you want so everyone has a level playing field, and we wanted to issue that as specifically as we could.”

Regardless of the specifications included in the request, a note at the very beginning states that vendors should include any pertinent information that may have been omitted.

In addition to the bid amounts that the vendors will send, Sanders said they will need to explain their background and experience to show why they can most thoroughly fulfill the requirements that the commission requested.

“We want to be as complete in gathering information as we can so we can make the best possible decision for the citizens of Pike County,” Sanders said.

Sanders said that he doesn’t believe the bid process was actually required for this study, but said the commission wanted to ensure that they handled the jail project as transparently as possible.

The request gives vendors the opportunity to place their total cost for the study plus an hourly rate they would charge to do any necessary follow-up.

The request outlines the need for the bidding vendors to be able to address the need for a new facility in Pike County, to give a comprehensive overview of the county’s existing facilities, to give detailed information about what standards a proposed facility would need to meet, and to supply projected financial information regarding the new jail.

The section regarding existing facilities requests that the report writer “explain current capacities, rates of usage, activities, suitability for continued use, alternate usage, deficiencies in services, staffing, physical conditions, and any other pertinent information.”

The commission is requesting even more detailed study of what a proposed new jail would need.

The request asks the report writer to explain and describe what size the jail would need to be to meet the current and future needs of Pike County, potential locations, potential incorporation of a juvenile detention center, the necessary construction and renovation and the need for the facility.

The section on the request that deals with financial information asks the report writer to “explain all assumptions underlying the expected demand, use, and projections of financial data, such as change in usage, all income and expense, rate structure, depreciation life and method, and description of long-term debts.”