Relocating Piscataquis County’s police and fire dispatch will cost thousands more than expected

DOVER-FOXCROFT — A project to relocate Piscataquis County’s police and fire dispatch center will mean repair work on a portion of the building’s exterior that will cost several thousand dollars extra, county commissioners were told Tuesday.

County officials have been working with Old Town-based architect Vicki Leavitt on the project, which will move the dispatch center from cramped quarters inside the Piscataquis County Jail into the administrative unit of the sheriff’s office on the first floor. 

The dispatch center relocation is part of a major project to upgrade radio communications for fire and police departments dealing with outdated infrastructure and Piscataquis County’s mountainous terrain. The radio communications project is estimated to cost $5 million for the first phase, not including the dispatch center move, whose price is not known yet. Thus far, commissioners paid $27,000 for a feasibility study presented last year. Now water damage to the mortar on the exterior of the sheriff’s office could add $26,000-$30,000 to the total cost.

Leavitt noticed issues with the brickwork during her survey of the building, Sheriff Robert Young said. There was concern about bolting into the brick, but a mason assessed the building and thought it won’t be an issue, head of maintenance Josh York said.

“We’re talking about the oldest part of the building, the sheriff’s [office] end,” he said. “There is some extensive water damage to the mortar, especially where water has been coming off the roof for years.”

It would cost an estimated $25,900 to $30,400 to cover grinding and repointing mortar spots, York said. The cost varies depending on whether federal funds are used because the county might need to adhere to the Davis-Bacon Act, he said. The act requires contractors and subcontractors working on federally funded jobs to pay their laborers no less than locally prevailing wages and benefits for similar projects, according to the U.S. Department of Labor.

If commissioners decide to rely solely on ARPA funding to cover the repairs, the Davis-Bacon Act doesn’t apply, County Manager Michael Williams said. If other federal funds are acquired and paired with the ARPA money, the act would apply, he said.

Piscataquis County Commissioners, who have already pledged to use American Rescue Plan Act funds for the project, agreed to also use the money for the necessary repairs on Tuesday. They did not vote on a specific amount because the work needs to go out to bid.

The sheriff also offered an update on two positions — jail administrator and patrol sergeant — that will soon be vacant.

Jail Administrator Maria Landry and Sgt. Mike Gould are retiring, and the sheriff’s office is advertising in-house for their positions, Young said. The positions will open up to others in early August.

Commissioners also approved a $3,080 bid from Illinois to sell a 2013 cruiser. They received four bids for the vehicle, some of them from other states.

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