Warren County Officials Hope To Keep Promise Despite Higher Estimate On Justice Center

 

INDIANOLA, Iowa -- Things were looking up in Warren County after receiving nearly 70% approval for a nearly thirty million dollar justice center in August.  "We are still waiting on our scenario to get done what we promised the voters we would do," said Dean Yordi on the Warren County Board of Supervisors.

That promise has taken a hit after recent cost estimates from DCI Group put the proposal for an 80,000 square foot builiding with four courtrooms and seventy-two jail cell beds, at $33.5 million.  Over three million above what Warren County voters approved.  "I'm not happy about it.  I'm not happy about the thirty million in the first place," said Christian Renner who lives across the street from the courthouse.  He was against the new one and feels the problem should have been solved long ago.  "Very frustrating.  If they take care of this building we don't even have this need," he said.

Now county supervisors need to keep costs down and Yordi says that is still the goal  "It's kind of like building a home. If you build a home and you want a five bedroom home and the numbers come in high, you may take out one or you may have to change a counter-top," said Yordi.

A 1.2 million dollar reserve fund was discussed but Yordi hopes the board can find a way around it despite the estimated higher price tag.  "It is separate and I want to keep it separate and if we need it we will use it," he said.

The Des Moines Register reported the board unanimously approved to reduce the project by 7,000 square feet.  Yordi said, "If in the very end we cannot do anything else, we possibly could reduce that but that's not where we are at and we are still striving for 80,000 square feet."

Some felt this scramble was inevitable and the price too good to be true.  Renner said, "Even when we were voting on this I was almost positive there was no way they were gonna do it for thirty million"

Yordi believes the voters that elected him and his fellow board members are counting on them to make it happen.  He said, "It's very important.  That's our job and that's what I'm striving to do.  I'm still striving for 80,000 square feet for $29.9M"