Supes face ‘conundrum’ — change two important courthouse renovation votes

Do you remember the old courtroom? This space will be redone and will serve as the Lassen County Board of Supervisors’ Chambers.File photo

With District 2 Supervisor Gary Bridges attending a conference on county business, the remaining Lassen County Supervisors split 2-2 on an important vote regarding changes in the construction project underway at Historic Lassen County Courthouse and tabled another one. But before the meeting was over, County Council advised it was possible for the board to reconsider the votes, and it did.

First up was to increase the change orders of $400,000 to $650,000 in contingency funds to facilitate “tenant improvements at the courthouse due to the consolidation of the county’s auditor and treasurer/tax collector positions in March. With the consolidation, it was decided to leave the consolidated offices in the Annex Building which meant changes in the Courthouse building, including a larger room for board members to conduct business (amounting to $171,900 in cost).

Public Works Director Pet Heimbigner describes the project during a tour of the facility last August. The entire building has been gutted, remodeled and brought up to modern standards to serve the county for the next 100 years. There is even a small elevator at the rear of the building to make the supervisors chambers handicapped accessible. Photos by Sam Williams

Another charge was for $161,264 to cover changes need to re-construct the window openings at the courthouse.

The county asked to add $250,000 for a total of $650,000 (11 percent of the original bid) in contingency that would also allow for the improvement of existing exterior lighting, repair of the exterior concrete/tile surface around the columns.

Neely said he envisioned personal offices for the supervisors, not a multipurpose room, but County Administrative Officer Richard Egan said personal offices for the supervisors were never part of the original plan.

Ingram said he was “a numbers guy” and wondered if there was ever going to be an end to additional charge orders for the project. Egan said he couldn’t guarantee there wouldn’t be a need for more change orders, but the possibility of changes lessens as the project moves forward. He said it is already more than 50 percent complete.

After the board voted 2-2 on the item, Public Works Director Pet Heimbigner told the board taking more time to get approval on this would delay the construction by two months and add more additional costs to the project.

Public Works Director Pet Heimbigner looks for a handwritten message in the third floor area above the new supervisors’ chambers. He said it appears to him the workers were one wheelbarrow full of cement when they finished the work on the floor up there. He noted all the cement work in the building had to be done by hand in those days, and he wonder if the workers just stopped one load short at the end of one work day and called it good enough.

On the first vote, supervisors Tom Neely and Jason Ingram voted nay with supervisors Aaron Albaugh and Chris Gallagher voting aye. The item passed 3-1 on the second vote, with Neely casting the lone nay vote.

The board initially voted to table an amendment to the agreement with Lionakis regarding changes to add $70,000 to the current agreement in an amount not to exceed $474,550. This change was also due to the consolidation of the auditor/treasuer and tax collector positions. According to the staff report, the funding is available within the current county budget and expenditures would come for the Courthouse Square Construction Fund.

Some worker on the original building crew was obviously confused about Susanville’s county. And notice how his comment was written with a brush, long before the days of magic markers.

Staff pointed out this delay would also wind up costing the county more money as well.

It passed 4-0 on the second vote.

Believe it or not, this one small piece of wood flooring is the only wood floor in the entire building.