Bids for the Hoover Bridge Project, an increase in county resident deaths, and renovated buildings for the health department, probation offices, and community corrections were discussed at the Cass County Commissioners meeting on Monday afternoon.
The highway department received two bids from construction companies to complete joint repairs in the Hoover Bridge. The first bid was from Milestone Contractors LP and quoted a price of $62,613.82. The second bid was submitted by Park Construction Inc. and quoted a price of $89,596.50.
The commissioners voted to allow the highway department to take both bids under advisement.
Highway Department Supervisor Jeff Smith also updated the commissioners on the department’s switch to four-day work weeks.
“I think most of the (highway department employees) are looking at it,” he said. “I’ve started the process of comparing costs, and I know we’ve saved considerably on overtime here in June. … Hopefully another month or two of data will show more conclusively how we’re doing, but it’s going well. We seem to get more done in a day, especially if it’s a project where you just need a little more time to finish it. Overall, I think it’s going well and being received well.”
Cass County Coroner George Franklin said the county has seen a rise in deaths compared to this point last year.
“We’re about 13 deaths ahead of where we were at the same time last year,” he said. “I discussed with several different coroners from different counties, and far and wide with few exceptions, most of them are facing the same numbers that we are.”
Franklin said there might be a few different factors contributing to the rise. He noted that there were three drug overdose deaths in Cass County last year. This year, drug overdoses have already caused at least seven deaths.
Franklin also said the pandemic has contributed to the rise in deaths.
“It’s not just Indiana, but it seems to be across the nation,” he said. “Am underlying factor that most people agree on is that it’s COVID that’s causing it. Not necessarily COVID deaths, but other things that are related to or associated with COVID.”
The commissioners also heard updates about county building renovations for the health department, probation department, and community corrections.
The first phase of renovations includes repairing the health department building at 1616 Smith St. The building will have the roof and interior replaced and new air handling units and a generator will be installed. The mechanical, electrical, and plumbing systems will also be replaced and the outside of the building will be repainted and repaired.
The probation department building will receive the second round of renovations. The building’s interior will be lightly updated and will receive new finished and office space, a new ceiling, and updates to the electrical and HVAC systems.
The last building to be renovated is the space for community corrections. The roof if the building will be replaced, the administration space and offices will receive cosmetic updates, and new isolation and counseling rooms will be added on to the existing building.
Work on the health department building will start on July 11 and is expected to be finished before Christmas. Work will then begin on the probation department building around Jan. 9, 2023 and is expected to be finished by April 7, 2023. The community corrections building is expected to be under construction from April 17, 2023 to June 30, 2023.