A North Vernon company will handle designs for an expansive drainage renovation project at Audubon Park subdivision later this year.

The Jefferson County Board of Commissioners on Friday entered into a contract with FPBH Inc. for engineering services on the project, which will carry an estimated cost of more than $500,000. The contract is for $77,500.

The county received a federal grant earlier this year that will cover all but 1 percent of the project costs, including consulting fees.

Bernie Hauersperger, president of FPBH, said the contract services include designs and contractor supervision. After Hauersperger showed the board a tentative design for new piping in the area, Commissioner Mark Cash asked about possible disruptions to utilities lines.

"We hope we can make these adjustments painless for the utility companies," Hauersperger said.

Hauersperger said his company would start the designs as soon as next week. County Engineer Jim Olson said bidding could come in the spring followed by a start date in August. Both Hauersperger and Olson anticipated a December completion date.

Once the project is finished, "you should not see puddled water on the road," Hauersperger added.

Also at the meeting, Sheriff John Wallace informed the board that the jail renovation project, which will add 16 to 20 beds on the third floor to help with overcrowding, will be complete in April.

Wallace said the project has not progressed as fast as he had hoped, but added that the contractors likely will have new materials in by the end of next week.

In addition to the jail project, Wallace reported that the inmate population is currently at 127, and that was after five inmates were transported to the Indiana Department of Correction on Thursday.

"Probably what's most alarming to me than anything is that our female population is at 34," he told the board.

The third floor renovation was planned to house the female population, which was between 15 and 20 when the designs started, Wallace said. If that population continues to rise, the sheriff said they may need to look at different lodging scenarios.

In other business:

• Recorder Leigh Koehler reported to the commissioners that the county's agreement with Coast2Coast, which provides free prescription discount cards to county residents and nonresidents, has earned about $5,500 this year.

"I talked with two pharmacists, and they said people are using it a lot," she told the board.

The prescription cards can save residents up to 75 percent on prescriptions and can be used for pets, Koehler said.

The cards are available at the Courthouse and local pharmacies. Those interested also can access the cards at the company's website, coast2coastrx.com.

• Dave Bell, county emergency management director, said there is a meeting scheduled for EMA directors and Department of Homeland Security officials at 3 p.m. on Feb. 26 at Ivy Tech Community College.

Bell also said that all the county offices now have their own Department of Homeland Security Data Universal Number System, which allows each office to apply for federal grants and reimbursements. He said effective this year, agencies must have a DUNS number to receive Federal Emergency Management Agency grant funding or reimbursements.

"(Auditor Celeste Reed) has been working on this pretty hard, because you can only do two numbers a day," he said. "So, it's taken her a long time, but she got it done and I just want to say thank you."

• Health Administrator Tammy Monroe said she is still working on a contract with New Hope Services, which will take over the county's Women, Infants and Children (WIC) program this year. The organization will need a rental agreement with the county health department as part of its transition plan.

Monroe said the takeover will happen in May, one month later than initially expected.