Scheub complains about fat E-911 contingency costs

2012-10-28T18:30:00Z 2012-10-29T14:17:06Z Scheub complains about fat E-911 contingency costsBill Dolan bill.dolan@nwi.com, (219) 662-5328 nwitimes.com
October 28, 2012 6:30 pm  • 

CROWN POINT | Lake County Commissioner Gerry Scheub, D-Crown Point, is questioning whether the estimated cost of constructing a proposed E-911 emergency communications command center is more than $1.6 million too high.

Scheub raised that concern earlier this week at a meeting of municipal police chiefs on the E-911 advisory commission over the numbers contained in a feasibility study on merging 18 community-based police and fire radio communication services into one system.

The study, drawn up by Indianapolis-based consulting firm RQAW, said designing and constructing a secure space on the third floor of the Lake County Government Complex would cost $3.6 million.

That would include walls that would resist bullets and storm-driven debris, alternative emergency power from an electrical generator, back-up heating, air conditioning and ventilation and furniture. Buying radio communication hardware and software would be an additional $300,000 to $600,000, according to the study.

Scheub objected to the inclusion in that total of $244,710 for contractor "overhead/profit/general conditions," $450,267 for "regional factor," $348,956 for "construction/design contingency," $175,265 for "owner project contingency" and $434,000 for professional design other miscellaneous costs.

"These are excessive contingencies," Scheub said.

Joseph Mrak, a senior vice president of RQAW, said those figures are there to ensure the cost are not under estimated.

"I'd rather they be too high than too low and you come back to me to wonder what happened," Mrak said.

The study also estimated the cost of moving the county health department, now in the space the command center would occupy, to new quarters would cost $1.7 million. Scheub said county government could do the same job in-house for $300,000.

The advisory commission members are set to visit an East Chicago municipal building this week. Mayor Anthony Copeland is offering 20,000 square feet rent free as another venue for the call center.

Hobart earlier was considered a possible site, but little was said about that possibility last week.

The commission is under pressure to choose a site before the end of the year to provide enough time to build, equip and staff the center before the end of 2014, as mandated by state law.

However, the Lake County Board of Commissioners will have the final word on any construction contract.

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