County must replace failing jail boiler

State officials gave Clark County 45 days to replace the boiler at the Clark County Detention Center after it failed last week.

Clark County Jailer Frank Doyle said the boiler quit working last Wednesday, leaving the facility without hot water temporarily. He said the state inspector allowed it to be patched, but said it had to be replaced immediately.

Doyle said the county could go with a high-efficiency unit, which would cut the jail’s natural gas costs.

Clark County Judge-Executive Henry Branham said the project has to be bid, rather than replaced as an emergency purchase. He said state auditors said it had to be bid because the county has 45 days to replace the boiler and it will cost more than $20,000.

Branham said he was told to expect a new boiler to cost around $200,000.

The project bid specifications should be ready by Friday, he said, and hoped to have bids in time for the March 8 fiscal court meeting.

The existing boiler, which had been patched previously, is the original boiler for the jail, Branham said.

Magistrate Greg Elkins suggested getting alternative bids to replace the boiler with a similar unit.

The unanswered question, asked by Magistrate Daniel Konstantopoulos, was how to pay for the boiler.

Branham said Wednesday afternoon he would contact the Kentucky Association of Counties and inquire about getting a loan or lease to cover the project.

“Hopefully we can defer the first payment until the start of the new fiscal year,” Branham said.