Douglas County Commission to consider spending $1 million for jail security upgrades

photo by: Chris Conde

The Douglas County Courthouse is pictured in September 2018.

The Douglas County Commission on Wednesday will consider approving a construction project worth a little more than $1 million for security upgrades at the county jail.

Douglas County Sheriff Ken McGovern asked the commission to approve the $915,000 contract with B.A. Green Construction to provide the upgrades, according to a recent memo to the commissioners.

The commission initially approved the project in February when it allowed the sheriff’s office to enter an $85,000 contract with Treanor Architects to design the security upgrades. McGovern told the commissioners in a memo at the time that the majority of the jail’s security system was 20 years old and would need to be replaced to maintain safety and security.

For the construction of the project, the sheriff’s office received two bids, with B.A. Green Construction’s $915,000 bid coming in with the lowest cost. However, the bid came in higher than the county’s original estimated cost of the project, $750,000. The other bid, from Cornerstone Detention, was not listed in the commission’s meeting documents.

McGovern said $670,000 of the project would be funded by sheriff’s office funds and $245,000 would be funded by the county’s capital improvement funds.

The remaining costs of the $1.03 million project include contingency funds for the project and the county’s professional service fees, such as the $85,000 in design services that Treanor Architects provided when the project was originally approved in February.

The consideration of the contract is on the commission’s consent agenda, meaning it will be considered in one motion with several other items, unless a commissioner or member of the public requests discussion of a specific item.

In other business, the commission will consider waiving its formal bidding process and allow county staff to negotiate the purchase of new software for its tax system.

In a memo to the commissioners, IT Director Jim Lawson asked the commission to waive the process so that his office could negotiate the purchase from Tyler Technologies. He estimated the total cost would be around $900,000, which can be paid through the county treasurer’s and county clerk’s IT funds.

Lawson told the commissioners that a county steering committee began working in 2017 to replace the county’s current tax system software — which it has been using since 2008 — because of concerns that the company that provides it will not do business in Kansas in the future. To replace it, the committee suggested purchasing the software from Tyler Technologies, which the Johnson County government recently began using.

The county uses the software to levy real property, personal property, state assessed and special taxes, produce tax bills, collect taxes and distribute the collected taxes to the proper authorities. It is also used to provide the public with value and tax data and the ability to pay their taxes online.

If the commission approves the request, county staff is expected to bring back a negotiated contract for final approval.

The commission will meet at 5:30 p.m. Wednesday at the Douglas County Courthouse, 1100 Massachusetts St. Full agendas are available online at

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