County mulls hiring courthouse project advocate

Posted Oct. 20, 2010, at 1:49 a.m.
Last modified Jan. 29, 2011, at 11:37 a.m.

DOVER-FOXCROFT, Maine — A proposal to hire an architect to look after the county’s interests during the state’s planned $5 million renovation of the county-owned courthouse will be presented to the Piscataquis County Budget Advisory Committee for discussion.

The committee will hold its first review of the county budget at 6 tonight at the county courthouse.

With so much at stake, Piscataquis County commissioners are contemplating hiring an “owners representative” to protect the county’s interest during the renovation project.

The state plans to renovate the Superior Courthouse to combine Superior and District courts on one floor in one building. The move is being made to improve safety in the courtroom, which is extremely crowded on court days, and to provide more space for courthouse employees who now operate from cramped quarters in the District Court building.

Under the proposed plan, there will be three additions to the Superior Court building so all of the offices now in the building would remain, with the exception of the county commissioners’ office. That office would be relocated to the District Court building.

Bids were solicited for an “owners representative,” and commissioner on Tuesday reviewed the two they had received. McCormick Facilities Management of Dexter submitted a bid of $120 an hour for a total project cost of $120,000; and Vicki Wolfertz of Monson bid $75 an hour or $20,000 total.

Commissioners Chairman Tom Lizotte said Tuesday the commissioners would make their decision on whether to retain professional help later in the budget deliberations. The funds would have to be included in next year’s budget since the county has no funds available this year for the service.

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