Commission will replace aging HVAC units at jail


The Walker County Commission agreed last week to allow for an agreement with Johnson Controls in Hoover to put in new HVAC units at the Walker County Jail, costing $169,882 from the Jail Fund. 

In paperwork from the company, dated Aug. 24 and released at the Sept. 8 meeting, the company said it would replace 17 HVAC units involving the jail and Walker County Sheriff's Office, which is headquartered above the jail. The company will also remove and dispose of the current units. 

"In order the eliminate much down time, (Johnson Controls) will replace a predetermined amount of units per day and get them running before moving on to other systems," the company said in the paperwork.

Jordan Madison, a Walker County resident employed by Johnson Controls, told the commission at its meeting the company has been working with the county the past two years on jail upgrades for HVAC and security needs, including security cameras. County Administrator Robbie Dickerson said the company has been able to save the county money. 

The company has its own HVAC division and has worked on the local HVAC at the jail in service calls due to the age of the equipment, he said.

Madison said he, Chairman Jerry Bishop and Sheriff Nick Smith looked at the equipment, which includes 26 units at the jail - 17 of which are original and originally had an expected life span of 15 years. The balance of the units have been replaced in the past decade. 

The areas currently affected are various, ranging from administration to several dorm rooms for inmates.

"Currently, the pod control has a bad compressor. There is no air conditioning in the pod control currently," he said. 

Dickerson said year to date this budget year, the county has spent more than $110,000 from the jail account for maintenance and repairs. On Sept. 4-5, Dickerson said the county issued three or four more purchase orders due to more units went down, adding it was "a constant battle" to keep the units running. 

District 1 Commissioner Keith Davis, who chaired the meeting in place of the absent Bishop, said the building is about 25 years old and received a number of other upgrades recently.  

"So what we are proposing is upgrading to new equipment that will lower our energy cost, will lower our repair cost and extend the assets' life, so we will have a longer period of  time on these units that we could have to repair," he said. 

A one-year limited warranty would be included for the complete unit and a five-year warranty would be set for the compressors, according to the paperwork. 

The work is expected to be paid for in the Fiscal 2021 budget as work will be completed about December.

Budget work session rescheduled for today 

A commission work session for the Fiscal 2021 county budget was originally  set for Wednesday. However, that has been rescheduled.

Due to a conflict in the schedule, the work session has now been rescheduled for today, Tuesday, Sept. 15. The meeting will start at 9 a.m.

The commission will have an opportunity to pass the budgets at the Monday, Sept. 21, meeting. The new fiscal year will start on Oct 1.