Mel Lanzer Co., Napoleon, with a bid of $560,700, was recommended by Hancock County commissioners President Tim Bechtol Thursday for the contract to install 27 jail cell doors in the Hancock County Justice Center.

The company’s bid was $1,350 higher than the $559,350 bid of Cornerstone Design and Construction, Madison, Alabama. But Bechtol, who checked references, and sheriff’s Capt. Ryan Kidwell, jail administrator, said Lanzer was the best choice to complete the project.

The company will begin by Nov. 18 and have the work completed within 75 days. It was the earliest start date and quickest completion date of the four bids received for the work, estimated at $807,550.

The commissioners previously borrowed $1.5 million for capital projects, with a majority for the cellblock doors.

Legislation to award the bid will be prepared for the commissioners’ consideration next week.

Separately, Bechtol and Commissioner Brian Robertson recommended legislation be prepared for next week to seek bonds later this year for $5.8 million over five years at 2.1 percent interest. The funds would be used toward construction of the county office building near the existing courthouse.

The commissioners were presented 14 borrowing scenarios by the county auditor’s office.

Commissioner Mark Gazarek said he didn’t have an opinion about funding the project, but voiced concerns about having funds for other expenses such as sheriff’s department vehicles and Department of Job and Family Services for child care.

After discussion about setting aside money this year for the project, Bechtol suggested legislation be prepared to place $556,000 in the probate/juvenile court project fund, and then an additional $100,000 will be placed in the account monthly, beginning this month, for the remainder of the year.

The county will use revenue from the quarter-percent sales and use tax imposed by the commissioners last year to help fund the court building.

The building would replace the more than 150-year-old probate/juvenile court building, located on Dorney Plaza. The county has been presented with four options for a new building ranging from $7.8 million to $10.5 million.

A meeting with Garmann/Miller Architects, Minster, will be held to outline plans later this year.

Separately, the commissioners met with Courtney Comstock, director at Litter Landing, for an update on the recycling center.

In the first month of collection of clothing and textiles by The Clothes Bin, which collects unusable clothing and textiles for recycling, generated 2,787 pounds and the county received about $195. The funds help offset some of the reduction in recyclable items, such as corrugated cardboard, she said. The Bowling Green franchise pays 7 cents per pound and maintains the bright green bins located near the electronics bin at the rear of the Litter Landing driveway.

The clothing items received are those which other donation sites, such as Salvation Army or Goodwill Industries, won’t accept.

“We want what (they) won’t take,” Comstock said.

Also, the commissioners met with county Engineer Doug Cade about funding six drainage ditch maintenance projects which have been petitioned, some more than 20 years ago.

The list has been prioritized with McComb Schroll ditch first, at an estimated construction cost of $322,000 and $92,750 for design.

After discussion, the commissioners suggested doing one or two of the projects at a time, the county would provide funds and then get repaid through assessments to property owners.

Earlier in the day, the commissioners approved the demolition of another residential property in the flood plain. ALL Excavating and Demolition, McComb, was awarded the contract for $4,250 to raze the residence at 930 Fox St.

The commissioners previously purchased the property with flood-reduction money.

Maurer: 419-427-8420

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