Furniture for the new Davis County justice complex being built in west Farmington will cost almost twice what the county has allocated in its construction budget.
The furniture for the jail, sheriff's department and county attorney's office in the $20 million complex will cost an estimated $286,000, county administrative services director VerNon Griffeth told commissioners this week.That exceeds the $150,000 allocated in the construction budget by around $136,000, Griffeth said.
Furniture for the three district courts being built in the complex will cost an additional $150,000, according to the bid the county received, Griffeth said. The state court administration system, which is leasing the space from the county, will pay that cost, he said.
Furniture for the sheriff's offices is estimated at $168,000 and $117,000 more for the county attorney's office. The rest is for reception and other common areas.
The bid cost includes a 54 percent volume discount, Griffeth said, but the commissioners were put in an uncomfortable position when he presented the figures on Wednesday. The company submitting the bid would only hold to that price for two days, with a planned 8 percent price increase scheduled for Nov. 1.
Moving old furniture from the current courthouse is not practical, Griffeth said. Much of it is old and worn, he said, and the new justice complex, especially the reception and secretarial areas, was designed around a specific type of standardized unit furniture.
The commissioners initially balked at the cost figures, especially the two-day deadline to approve the bid and place the order.
They discussed options of reducing the amount of furniture ordered, including stepping down the quality to a cheaper grade and increasing the budget.
Commissioner Robert Rose said he'd like to see serviceable furniture in good shape moved from the present courthouse to the new facility.
"I'm not talking about taking a bunch of apple crates over there and setting the secretaries on them. But I'd like to see reasonable, serviceable furniture from here taken over there.
"Not everything has to be totally new and color-coordinated over there," said Rose.
Griffeth said the furniture bid only came in a day before and because of time constraints and its complexity, he hasn't had time to analyze it in detail.
He estimated the county will need $150,000 to $170,000 for what he called the bare essentials, especially computer and secretarial work stations to fit areas specifically designed for them.
Commissioner Dub Lawrence, a vocal critic for the 20 months of his term of what he has charged are cost overruns at the facility, said he is not surprised by the higher cost estimate.
"The time to hold the line on expenses like this has long since passed. We're way past the planning stage where we could have done something about this," Lawrence said. "We've known for months the $150,000 in the budget was going to be inadequate."
Lawrence also said it's time to buy new furniture for county offices, noting the chair he was sitting in at the commission meeting is worn and the arms are frayed. Lawrence said the sheriff is using the same desk and office furniture as he was when he himself was sheriff 15 years ago.
He also said if the old furniture in the courthouse offices is moved out, new would have to be purchased when new tenants move into the space. So the new furniture might as well go into the new facility, he said.
"We need to be as frugal as possible in what we purchase. But I wouldn't want to move into an open warehouse that would jeopardize the functioning of county employees," Lawrence said.
The commissioners agreed to purchase the $150,000 worth of furniture for the courtrooms, for which the county will be reimbursed, but delayed ordering the rest of the furniture until Monday to allow Griffeth to study the pricing sheet and break out essential items.