Dennis Phillips, Butler County Sheriff’s business manager, spoke to the Butler County Commissioners on Tuesday morning to request an approval to re-key the Butler County Jail.

Dennis Phillips, Butler County Sheriff’s business manager, spoke to the Butler County Commissioners on Tuesday morning to request an approval to re-key the Butler County Jail.

Phillips explained in order to transport an inmate, several different keys would have to be used in the event of a power failure. The time taken to find the right keys for each of the locks on the different combination of doors could be costly in the event of an emergency.

“At the current time, all doors are operated electronically,” Phillips said. “In the event of a power failure, 40-50 keys are required to get people out of the jail.”

Integrity Steel Works, which is the proposed company for the project, has been working with the jail for the past three years.

With the current system, a key is required for each separate pod. Each pod holds from 25 to 30 cells. Along with the keys for the pods, there are different keys that unlock other secured parts of the building. There are 200 to 300 keys currently that must be inventoried and accounted for.

“When the new locksmith re-keys all the doors, it should only take five to six keys for the entire facility,” explained Phillips.

Originally, when the jail was built, it was built to a standard of a higher security prison, with long term inmates. But on average an inmate will only spend 17 days in the facility.

“We are not a prison,” commented Phillips. “These people are our friends and neighbors. Our goal is to keep everybody safe.”

The commission voted 4-1 in favor of the project, with Commissioner Peggy Palmer opposing.

The project, which will cost $21,098.81, is scheduled to begin next year.

Along with the issue of the new keys and locks, the board discussed the replacement of 10 doors over the next year with an overall cost of $13,197.50. That project will begin in 2014.

In other business, the commission:

• heard from Darryl Lutz, Public Works director, who brought a recommendation to the commission for three bridge projects in the county. The projects, which were previously brought before the board, required special permission because of the 10 percent extension on the estimated cost. After some investigation, it was noted the estimates were higher due to the requirement of the project being completed this year.

“It is my preference to try to get these done. We don’t want to schedule these on top of further projects already scheduled for next year,” said Lutz.

He went on to explain if the project were to be scheduled for completion next year, a savings of 10 to 15 percent in the overall cost would be possible; however, with an already full schedule of construction projects, the risk of overwhelming construction resources becomes an issue.

“I’m in favor of going forward with Darryl’s recommendation in regard to the fact that the savings is relatively insignificant in the grand scheme of things,” commented Commissioner Jeff Masterson.

The project bids were unanimously approved across the board and will begin later this year.

• heard from Randy Dalke from Marion County about the agreement between Marion and Butler counties for trash. He said it was a beneficial agreement and hoped to renew it when the contract was up for renewal.

• approved going out for bids for a new ambulance for EMS to replace an existing ambulance.

• approved changes in the language of for the Kansas Department of Corrections final budget summary and narrative for the 13th District Community Corrections Agency.

• approved the updated Drug and Alcohol Policy for the Department of Aging in conformance with federal regulation.

• approved the letter in response to the fence viewing that was held on June 17 between Thunder Turf and Mr. Harris.