Monroe Co. board dips into Justice Center project contingency fund

$180,000 used to cover unexpected costs

Progress is being made on a new justice center in Monroe County, but the project will cost more than originally expected.

The Monroe County board voted Wednesday night to approve taking about $180,000 from the project’s contingency fund. The money will be used to cover costs to build the new jail, courtrooms and sheriff’s department that weren’t included in the original $33 million budget.

Monroe County Circuit Judge David Rice serves as chairman for the Justice Center Committee and says there were some unexpected costs once construction got underway.

“There is a group from the Sheriff’s Department that monitors the progress of the jail, as does the project manager. They’re on-site day-to-day. They realized there are some problems here,” Rice said.

Rice says those kinds of adjustments will be made with any construction project.

“It’s expected there will be things that need to be done that weren’t anticipated when you drew up the plans originally,” Rice said.

While Rice says there is some frustration from the county board over the need for changes to the original plan, the additional cost will be worth the money in the long run.

“My view of it is you’ve got to do it right. We’re not building this to be the cheapest jail, we’re trying to build it to last 100 years,” Rice said.

There’s still about $500,000 left in the contingency fund.

The project is about a month behind schedule because of a cold streak of weather in December, but phase one of the project should still be completed by July. The second phase of the project, which will include building four new courtrooms and other county offices, should be completed next year.