The Harlan Fiscal Court asked Harlan County Judge-Executive Dan Mosley to look for options to deal with a problem with the geothermal vault at the Harlan County Detention Center.
During a meeting of the fiscal court on Tuesday, Mosley asked Harlan County Clerk Donna Hoskins to open the one bid received by the county for the job.
“It is from Cumberland Mine Supplies Inc. in Cumberland,” Hoskins said.
Hoskins mentioned the scope of the work includes removing the existing vault and installing a new one. She informed the court the bid for the job was $84,498.
“With that cost…there’s not enough in renewals and repairs to cover that type of expenditure,” Mosley told the court. “With that being the case, we’ll have to take some type of action to move some money around to cover it, because we won’t even be able to issue a purchase order as it currently stands.”
Mosley asked Harlan County Jailer B.J. Burkhart how the current system was working.
“What they reported to us was it’s caving in,” said Burkhart. “There was a homemade vault put in instead of what should have been put in. I guess it could go down at any time.”
Mosley said the county had received a quote from a company that was in excess of $20,000, but was not comparable to the $84,498 bid. The company that supplied the quote did not submit a bid for the job.
“That’s what we based our determination on to go ahead and bid it,” Mosley said.
Magistrate Jim Roddy said he did not feel comfortable accepting the bid without further information.
A representative from Cumberland Mine Supplies explained there is a large amount of work that must be done to install the new vault that will likely leave the system inoperable for one to two weeks.
“So essentially you would have no heat and air for a period of seven to 10 days,” Mosley said.
Burkhart explained there is no backup system to heat the jail if the unit goes down.
“We need to act on this,” said Magistrate David Kennedy. “I agree with Roddy, I think we need to go ahead and refer it to your (Judge-Executive’s) office.”
After some further discussion, the court decided to refer the matter to Mosley’s office in order to research costs and other options.
Reach Joe P. Asher at 606-909-4132 or on Twitter @joe_hde