(BEDFORD) – On Tuesday morning the Lawrence County Commissioners approved making improvements to the Sheriff’s Department elevator.
Mitch Stafford of Thyssenkrupp Elevator says the Sheriff’s Department has made numerous repairs to the elevator costing the county more than $10,000 in the last few months.
“The issues with the elevator are now drawing attention from state officials,” says Stafford. “We need to modernize it and bring it up to code to meet state compliance.”
To do that it will cost the county around $92,000. The commissioners voted to make the needed repairs and use money from the Cum Cap Fund to do that.
Sheriff Mike Branham says not having a working elevator makes work difficult at the jail. He says that jail officials have to walk the three flights of stairs to transport meals to inmates.
“We need to do something,” he added. “Parts are hard to find. We could be down months at a time to have replacement parts made to fix the next problem.”
The improvements will take between five to six weeks to complete and will add another 25 years of use to the life of the elevator.
“We can deal with that if we know when it is going to happen,” Sheriff Branham told the commissioners. “It’s the unexpected break downs that hamper us. I would rather deal with the five to six weeks then to deal with this problem over and over again and be without an elevator for months at a time.”
Sheriff Branham reported there were 167 inmates in the jail. Of those 127 were males, 40 females and seven Level 6 felons, 4 Department of Correction holds.
Sheriff Branham says these numbers would be higher if they had not moved around 18 of the inmates to the new treatment center.
“Those numbers are up from this same time last year,” he added. “Last year we had 137 inmates.”
In other business:
Tim Morrow asked the commissioners to make Lawrence County a Second Amendment Sanctuary County. He asked the commissioners to adopt a law or resolution to prohibit or impede the enforcement of certain gun control measures perceived as a violation of the Second Amendment.
Morrow collected 2,441 signatures on petitions of people who want Lawrence County to have sanctuary status.
“Seventeen counties in Indiana have passed this,” Morrow told the commissioners. “Millions have died to defend the constitution. When I was 17-years-old I took an oath to protect the constitution. I did that by serving for more than 29 years. When my service stopped my oath did not. This is my way now of defending the constitution.”
The commissioners took the request under advisement to have county attorney David Smith look over the information and will vote on it during the next commissioners meeting.
Clerk Billie Tumey requested the commissioner’s signatures on a contract to rent the Lawrence County 4-H Expo Hall to be a voting center for the upcoming election. There was no cost to the county to rent the building. The commissioners approved the request.
Highway Superintendent David Holmes reported crews are still cold patching potholes. They will begin using hot mix when the asphalt plants open on March 23rd. Asphalt bids are also due next week.
Crews are also cutting brush and performing culvert and shoulder work to prepare roads for the spring paving projects.
Bridge crews have poured the deck on Bridge 121 on Silverville Williams Road over Indiana Creek. Crews will begin setting the guard rails this week.
Work on Historical Bridge 150 on Mill Creek Road has slowed due to complications from the State Historic Preservation Office.
The office is wanting the county to commit to rehabilitating another historical bridge before continuing working work on Bridge 150.
“I applaud their efforts,” said Holmes. “But we just don’t have the half a million dollars to do that. I did tell them we would apply for another federal grant on another project.”
Emergency Management Director Valerie Luchauer told the commissioners that her office is receiving numerous calls about the coronavirus.
Luchauer stressed the county is prepared for any health issue the county might face.
“The Health Department is the lead agency on any infectious disease,” she added. “We have plans in place to deal with any infectious flu-like disease and have resources in place.”