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Commissioners modify contract for jail project

The Elkhart County Commissioners made changes Monday, Jan. 4, to a contract for a project at the county jail.
Posted on Feb. 4, 2013 at 12:00 a.m. | Updated on Feb. 4, 2013 at 6:59 p.m.

GOSHEN — An agreement to install a new cooling tower at the Elkhart County Jail was revised Monday after a little confusion with the contractor.

The county commissioners signed an emergency resolution in January to add a cooling tower to the jail that would augment the facility’s faulty air conditioning system. The commissioners chose the Hydronic & Steam Equipment Co. of South Bend to build the tower for $248,254. But as county administrator Tom Byers pointed out Monday, the commissioners had to modify the contract.

“We ran into a little bit of an issue,” Byers told the commissioners. “The contract now is with Griffen Plumbing and Heating. It was originally the subcontractor Hydronic Steam. Hydronic Steam is nothing more than a manufacturer of the unit, and when we presented the public works contract to Hydronic, they got a little nervous because there are certain provisions in a public works contract that were kind of new to them being a supplier.”

The clause that Hydronic & Steam was concerned about was the sizeable amount of liability insurance required by the agreement, Byers said. The contractor is required to have at least $1 million in public liability insurance and $2 million in the aggregate. Byers said Hydronic & Steam’s concerns were reasonable, so the county turned to Griffen for the project.

“We have altered the contract, but we’re still dealing with Hydronic Steam, but we’re dealing with them through Griffen Plumbing and Heating,” Byers explained.

Byers told the commissioners that Griffen has signed off on the contract with the county.

“Nothing has changed about the project,” he said. “It’s the same unit. It’s the same cost.”




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