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LEC opens doors for Open House

By Staff | Sep 21, 2009

Dispatchers have been trained on the equipment and are getting use to the new surroundings.

It took two years to construct, and cost upwards of $12 million, but the new Faribault County Law Enforcement Center is complete and ready to go.

The public will get a chance to tour the new LEC this weekend, before any inmates are moved in.

The official open house at the facility will be held on Friday, Sept. 25 and Saturday, Sept. 26. Hours on Friday are 1-8 p.m. and Saturday from 10 a.m.-4 p.m.

Construction on the combination sheriff’s office and jail began in the summer of 2007.

“The county board made the final vote to go ahead with the project in December of 2006,” says Faribault County Auditor/Treasurer John Thompson.

Thompson says the board decided to bond for $10 million for the construction, and take the rest out of the county’s reserves.

“They had built up the levy over a couple of years in anticipation of the project,” Thompson says. “So there was a considerable amount available.”

Thompson says the board originally planned to use $1.2 million of reserves, but the bids were slightly higher than anticipated.

“The board was determined not to bond for over $10 million,” Thompson says. “So our reserves went from really fat to really skinny.”

Thompson adds that some people have been concerned about the number of change orders along the way, but he says there really have not been very many, for a project this size.

“When we did the remodeling of the courthouse years ago, change orders nearly doubled the cost,” he recalls. “With the jail, the additions have not been all that significant.”

He adds that concerns about raising county resident’s property taxes next year, because the LEC is now completed, are unfounded.

“The truth is, the bond repayment has already started, and was built into the taxes payable in 2009, so folks are already paying for it,” he says. “Your taxes will not be any higher next year due to the Law Enforcement Center.”

Thompson also complimented County Sheriff Mike Gormley on a superb job of keeping the jail project on track.

“Yes, it did wind up a few months behind the completion date, but that is not unusual for a project this large,” Thompson says.

For more of this story, see this week’s Register