Commissioners reviewed bids brought in by Don Chance, Mississippi County Detention Center administrator, and approved the purchase of a new transport vehicle for the jail during Thursday's county commission meeting.
The low bid of $57,225 for a 2001 Ford E-40 Super Duty Cutaway shuttle bus from Central States Bus Sale with prisoner cage installed was selected, as recommended by Chance. In addition to having the lowest total cost, the Ford E-40 shuttle bus also holds the most passengers at 24 and promised the quickest delivery time, Dec. 15.
The detention center's current prisoner transport van is in the shop, said Chance. Only 10 prisoners at a time are transported in the van when it is working, according to Chance.
Trucks with Mavron 18-passenger prisoner inserts were bid by Lou Fusz Automotive and Galemore Motor Company at $58,860 and $58,510 respectively. Both offered delivery by Jan. 15.
The highest bid was from Creative Bus Sales which offered a 22-passenger shuttle bus for $71,200 with delivery fee. This vehicle would not be available until April 30, according to the bid.
Chance said the cage on the county's Ford E-40 shuttle bus will be set back a few rows to allow jail officials to separate male and female prisoners. An isolation cage will also be installed. "You do have people that are noncompliant and do need to be isolated," said Chance.
The current rate of $50 per day for INS prisoners may go up as high as $64 based on the county's transportation service and modifications to the jail, according to Chance. The purchase of the new transportation van will "help justify getting us up in the $60 range," Chance said. "INS is sending (their prisoners) to us because we haul them."
Chance said the INS has been "running wide-open since Sept. 11." Mississippi County is presently holding 31 INS prisoners, according to Chance.
Chance said with the increase in the number of INS prisoners, the county may need to consider reducing the number of beds made available to neighboring municipalities and counties.
Homer Oliver, commissioner, said that in addition to the INS paying more money to board their prisoners, INS prisoners "aren't nearly as much trouble" as other prisoners.
Chance also discussed a letter from the INS advising medical expenses such as hospital and pharmacy costs will be paid at the Medicare reimbursement rate and will be billed directly rather than reimbursing the county. Chance said this will alleviate some cash flow hassles. Billing will still be done under the county's provider number.
Exceptions will be dentist visits, eyecare and hearing care which the county will still pay and be reimbursed for, according to Chance.
In other Mississippi County news:
* The contract for mowing Maple Slough Ditch was awarded to the low bidder, Hessling Construction of Dexter, who bid a total of $4,800.
The job includes a five miles of mowing on both sides of the ditch and two miles which only need to be mowed on one side.
Bids ranged as high as $8,177 for the project.
* Commissioners discussed allowing controlled dumping at the fenced-in county shed area.
"There's no place to dump limbs right now," said Jim Blumenberg, presiding commissioner.
With residents no longer permitted access to dump at the county shed site, old appliances and furniture are again being found alongside remote roads and in ditches around the county. "I've got a lot of mattresses showing up," said Martin Lucas, commissioner.
Commissioners agreed there are county residents who have legitimate dumping needs.