After nearly two years of delays, the Boone County Sheriff’s Department’s northern substation is expected to open at the end of June.
“It’s been a slow, painful process,” said Boone County Sheriff Dwayne Carey.
The proposed rural office, located at the intersection of Missouri 124 and U.S. 63, was first proposed in July 2003 with a cost of $20,524. However, because of unforeseen issues, the price tag for the substation will be $54,949. Skip Elkin, a member of the Boone County Commission, said a significant sum has been spent on overcoming limitations of the site itself.
“We had to get an engineer to design a sewer system,” Elkin said. “I don’t think it was realized how much an engineered sewer system would cost.”
A required chip-and-seal treatment for the parking lot, which was not included in the original estimate, also increased the cost.
In addition to these cost overruns, difficulties with property rights and construction also delayed the project. The location for the substation is on Missouri Department of Transportation land and had to be leased from that agency.
“We were hoping that MoDOT would get us a lease at no cost,” Elkin said.
Instead, the department is leasing the property to Boone County for approximately $1,000 annually.
This initial property arrangement delayed bids on construction until August 2004. Carey said substations are valuable to the Sheriff’s Department for response time.
“The Sheriff’s Department is divided into north and south districts, divided by Interstate 70,” he said.
Deputies are assigned one or the other and handle calls from their district. Without the aid of substations, deputies must drive to the Sheriff’s Department to dictate their reports. When the new substation is in place, Carey said, “It will save the deputies those 10 to 15 minutes of drive-time.”
The substation will not be staffed full-time but will house the office of the northern sheriff’s captain, who supervises the deputies assigned to the northern district. Carey was the captain of the southern district before he became sheriff.
Despite the significant delays, Elkin and Carey are hopeful about the substation.
“I think we’re really close to being open for business,” Elkin said. “Government, you know, doesn’t always work as fast as we’d like.”