The Hamilton County Commission reversed course on the Silverdale jail after a brief discussion in a recessed meeting, voting to award KTM Builders LLC a $20 million contract. Commissioner Chester Bankston was the one who brought up the idea of possibly reconsidering awarding the contract to KTM. Commissioner Tim Boyd was still opposed to the idea.
“The overwhelming majority voted against KTM because of their lack of experience in building such institutions,” Commissioner Boyd said.
“So if you could Mr. Bankston, could you enlighten us about any new information you may have?”
Commissioner Bankston said he spoke to company officials since the commission last met, and he then felt as if they were “qualified to do the job.” Commissioner Boyd said that this LLC has never completed a job of this magnitude, and most of their projects are related to building stores such as Hobby Lobby.
“Their average job is 1.8 million, and we’re going to place the county’s money on an unproven contractor who has not got a proven record on any institutional job,” Commissioner Boyd said. “Those jobs are some of the toughest jobs out there.”
“There’s not been any changes in their ability. I talked to the architect, that even though he wrote a letter of recommendation, they have no experience in building institutional work. They’re big box builders. If the county wants to build a Target or a warehouse, let them do it.”
County Mayor Jim Coppinger said he had not spoken to anyone from KTM before this meeting. He said it was the sheriff’s project. After this, Commissioner Sabrena Smedley told the commission she had in fact met with KTM “extensively.”
“I’m convinced we should give them an opportunity to do this job,” Commissioner Smedley said. “They and their subcontractors have a lot of experience. I went through all the plans and it was a very extensive meeting, and they even shared some caveats and challenges they’ve identified in the plan and how they are going to address those.”
She also said KTM will report back frequently and that there will be accountability on the project. Commissioner Mackey said he is willing to rely on what his commissioners said during this meeting, and said he was alright with reconsidering.
“I’m bringing in boots on the ground to oversee what they’re doing on a day to day basis, because it’s imperative that we are on a tight schedule we get this done,” Sheriff Jim Hammond said. “I’m very comfortable with this group being selected.”
After this, the commission voted to give the contract to KTM. Commissioners Boyd and Katherlyn Geter were the only commissioners who voted against.