Final numbers show the construction of the Reno County Correctional Facility and security changes at the Reno County Courthouse that were funded by the same 2013 voter-approved bond issue came in nearly $1 million under projected costs.

That's according to Reno County Commissioner Dan Deming, who presented a brief report to the county commission Tuesday on final actual costs for the projects.

Officials expect to pay off the $28.9 million in 10-year bonds by 2020, some three years ahead of schedule, though later than had been anticipated a couple of years ago when sales tax receipts were routinely exceeding projections.

“We’ve been waiting for some time to get the amount left over from the jail bond issue,” Deming said. “There’s been a lot of work go into the jail and related courthouse projects and it’s time to let taxpayers know the cost.”

Deming’s figures showed actual costs for construction of the state-of-the-art 250-bed county jail was $24,246,775. That was some $1.013 million or about 4 percent below the estimated cost.

Renovation of the former Reno County Jail Annex across the street from the courthouse into new county offices, which allowed moving most county functions out of the courthouse before new security was installed, came in just $60 below its estimated cost of $2.29 million.

Installation of that new secured entrance, which included a massive new handicap ramp, belted x-ray scanner, walk-through metal detector, a new glass wall separating the entry and exit, as well as new locks and alarms to all other courthouse entrances, came in more than 27 percent below its projected estimate.

The final $508,311 cost, however, was the result of a redraft of the original entrance plan, which had involved construction a new entrance between the law enforcement center and courthouse. Instead of the $700,000 allocation for the project, project cost estimates for the initial plan climbed to nearly $1 million.

The only project funded through the bonding that ran over cost estimates was for the renovation of the old jail inside the joint law enforcement center, converting the space into new evidence storage, a waiting room and new offices for several sheriff department functions.

That project ended up costing $739,768, nearly $270,000 or 57 percent more than the $470,000 allocated for it.

Another $141,423 of the money was reimbursed to the county general fund to repay costs for developing the project before the bonds were sold.

Overall, the projects ended up costing $27.926 million, nearly $940,000 less than estimated project costs and almost $974,000 below the bond authorization.

“I’m proud of the amount of money left over since with most government projects were used to cost overruns,” Deming said.

The remaining funding, Deming noted, can’t be spent on any other projects, but must be applied to paying off the bonds. That will help pay them off in just seven years, rather than the 10 authorized by the vote, which should save taxpayers even more in reduced interest costs while ending the half-cent sales tax allocated for the bonds.

“This all started back in 2011 with a 10-member study committee and I’d like to pay tribute to those on the committee who did a lot of work in a year and a half planning these improvements,” Deming said. “Without their efforts, we’d not be in a position to have almost $1 million left over.”

An earlier jail bond proposal went down to defeat, so leaders were presently surprised by the 77 percent voter approval in 2013.

“Frankly, credit for the majority of leftover funding goes to two people: Harlan Depew, our maintenance director, who saved a tremendous amount of money, and the overall supervision of the project by County Administrator Gary Meagher," Deming said.

“I didn’t keep track of every expense, but I did keep track of some and at least $200,000 can be attributed to the work by Meagher and Depew, who guided us to where we’re at today.”

Commissioner Bob Bush, who was on the Hutchinson City Council when the bonds and most individual projects were approved, then lauded Deming for his input and oversite of all the projects.

“I was talking to one commissioner at the time, who said if it (the jail bond issue) was approved it was because of Dan Deming,” Bush said. “He put a lot of time and effort into it, and he’s a skinflint curmudgeon who’ll keep an eye on the dollars.”

“It was a team effort,” Deming said, attempting to deflect any praise.