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Wasinger says projects need to stay within budgets





There is only so much money available for two county projects, Ellis County Commission Chairwoman Barbara Wasinger said at Monday's regular meeting.

Commissioners and department heads in the audience at the Ellis County Courthouse discussed a remodeling project at 718 Main -- site of the future county administrative building -- and the construction of a new EMS/rural fire building at 22nd Street and General Hays Road.

After lengthy discussion including generators, electrical outages, garage doors and ventilation at the EMS/rural fire building, Wasinger told department heads the final design has to fall inside the budget.

"Let's put the cards on the table at this point," Wasinger said. "Here's my issue: I don't want to be penny-wise and pound-foolish, but I also want to remind every single person in this room we have this much money; we have this much.

"We're not here to punish you. We're not here to overcome you with CO2 fumes. We're not here to make things terrible. My issue is we're all supposed to be working for Ellis County. We're all supposed to be working within this parameter of money."

Commissioners approved the architect to begin the design process again for both projects at Monday's meeting. The bids in December for the original design of the EMS/rural fire building came in above the $3.5 million budgeted for construction costs and were rejected by the commission. A change from concrete to an all-metal building brought the cost to $3.24 million, and the changes made Monday should lower the cost more, said Ellis County Administrator Greg Sund.

Those changes are reducing the number of garage doors from 14 to eight; using a generator from the Law Enforcement Center instead of purchasing one; and moving the transformer closer to the building.

Wasinger said if department heads believed it was important to add something in the EMS/rural fire building, then find the money somewhere else to take out.

"So if that's in fact what you want to say ... then we'll put the doors back in," Wasinger said. "You take that money and figure where we're going to take it out of the building.

"We can't add all this stuff back in; there's just no way to do it. We don't have the money. We're not trying to take things out just to be capricious. We need to figure out how to build this building -- as well as take care of 718 Main -- within the amount of dollars that we have. I would like to give each and every one of you exactly what you want. But just like with my family budget, can't do it, can't be done."