Gonzales County Commissioners Court talks elevator repair


Seeking a long-term fix, the Gonzales County Commissioners Court mulled over the plan to “modernize” the Randle-Rather Building elevator, which has been out of commission for several weeks now. The court declared the broken elevator an emergency at its July 22 meeting. Instead of simply repairing the elevator, the court opted to replace it with a modern system with the intention of preventing future failures. The court contracted thyssenkrupp Elevator Corporation for the project.

Two representatives from thyssenkrupp appeared at the Aug. 5 meeting to answer questions from the commissioners regarding the company’s proposal. The replacement is quoted in the amount of $156,507 and is projected to last 7-to-8 weeks. However, it’s stated in the proposal that the total is “subject to escalation—even after the purchaser’s acceptance of this proposal.” One of the thyssenkrupp reps mentioned a “jack hole clause” which would cause the project total to increase if invoked.

“We don’t know if that hole was fully cased,” the thyssenkrupp representative said. “Sometimes they case them, sometimes they don’t. If we pull that jack out and that hole collapses, we’re not responsible for that.”

In the event of a jack hole collapse, the county would have to bring in a third-party specialist. Precinct 1 Commissioner K.O. “Dell” Whiddon asked the representative if there were any other additional expenses that could be added on to the total. The representative said there was some supplementary work to be done in the machine room, but the added expenses would be minor.

A portion of Saint George St. will be closed during the unloading process of the project. The county will not be required to provide any equipment during that process.

The project may run into early voting for the 2019 Texas Constitution election in October. Early voting would still happen at Randle-Rather, though the early voting location in the building may switch from the elevator lobby to the Tax Assessor-Collector’s side.

At the meeting, the court formally agreed to pay the initial 50 percent of the project, which amounts to $78,253.50, to get the repair started. The remaining cost will more-than-likely be budgeted for the next fiscal year.

Other news from the meeting:

  • Precinct 1 Constable’s month report was received.
  • 2019 appraisal roll was received.
  • 2019 effective, rollback, sales tax rate calculation was received.
  • The court approved an interlocal agreement between Gonzales County and the City of Nixon for road repairs and maintenance.
  • 19 Automark Voting Machines, 1 scanner and 2 printers were declared surplus and authorized to be traded to Election Systems and Software.
  • A Precinct 1 bridge was declared surplus and authorized to be sold in public auction. Advertisements for said public auction were also approved.
  • No action was taken on the estimates for roof repairs at the Emergency Management Building.
  • Securus was awarded the Gonzales County Jail inmate phone service contract. The five-year contract features inmate calls of $.35 per minute fees for local calls, 73 percent commission on all call types and a minimum annual guarantee of $41,000. Also included in the new contract are tablets for all inmates which include access to a law library and purchasable premium content such as music, movies and games.
  • Budget amendments 44-47 were approved.
  • Bills were read and approved.
  • The court looked over a proposed budget for the 2020 fiscal year. Gonzales County Judge Pat Davis said he hopes to add a chief clerk position to his office and that Gonzales County Attorney Paul Watkins would like one in his office as well. No action was taken on the budget and it will be revisited at the next meeting.