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Committee To Determine How To Pay For Courthouse Renovations
Updated June 25, 2013 10:08 PM | Filed under: Politics
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(BEDFORD) - The Lawrence County Commissioners told the County Council Tuesday night they are ready to move forward with the renovations at the courthouse.

Now the problem is paying for those renovations.

Both Spreen and Flinn would like to take the needed $2.2 million dollars and split it between the county's rainy day fund and the sale of Dunn Hospital.

"But that is not what the council agreed to do," says councilmen Jim Edwards.

In November, a county council committee recommended $1 million from the sale of Dunn Memorial Hospital to St. Vincent Hospital be earmarked for courthouse renovation. The plan was for the commissioners, and Architura to search for grants to pay for the remanding balance.

They also recommended the county commissioners take remaining needed funds from their cum-cap fund or to borrow the money from the county's economic development fund and pay the funds back over a period of time.

The money could be taken from the cum-cap fund, but the commissioners are concerned if they do that, it will leave them short for other needed repairs and maintenance at the courthouse.

"There is money for everything else but for renovating courthouses," Spreen told the council. "We have exhausted every possible mean through grant searches and there just isn't any out there for this type of project."

Architura's Michael Conly reported the project would cost $2,040,000. A new variable refrigerant flow heating, ventilation, and air conditioning system was estimated at $1.2 million, while window replacements (more than 100) and repairs to the courthouse's north entrance totaled $840,000.

Mark Heirbrandt, a senior account executive for Ameresco, an independent energy services company, said after carefully scrutinizing the courthouse's current heating/cooling operation, he recommends a variable refrigerant flow system.

He noted if Architura and Ameresco are selected to undertake the renovation, a committee of local officials will be assembled to oversee the project.

The committee would consist of a commissioner, three council people, the auditor, and the county's maintenance man -- since he will be the one tending to the unit after it is installed.

That committee will consist of Commissioner Bill Spreen and Councilmen Keith Dillman, Jim Edwards and Mark Mathis, along with Auditor Jody Edwards.

They will now meet to see if they can come up with a plan to pay for the renovations.

"We need to move forward with this because the longer we wait the more expensive this will be," Spreen says.

In other business the council:

* Approved two Indiana Local Health Department Trust Accounts and a Public Health Preparedness grant budget for the Health Department.

* Approved an additional appropriation of $35,650 for the Lawrence County Coroner's Office. Coroner Rob Herr told the council the money was needed to pay outstanding bills for Rural Metro ambulance service and for storage at IU Health Hospital before the morgue was built. Some outstanding bills dated back to December 2010. Herr says the remaining funds will sustain the coroner's office for another six months.

* Approved an additional appropriation of $285,000 for Highway Superintendent Dave Holmes to purchase three new pickup trucks and County Project Director Bob Dillon to make repairs to the Bridge 55.

The bridge is on Leesville Road over Guthrie Creek, between Leesville and Fort Ritner. Dillon hopes to have the bridge repaired and open by the time school starts.

* Approved an additional appropriation of $1,400 to be placed in a training fund. According to County Treasurer Paula Stewart the fund is for county officials to attend mandated training. The funds are collected through fees in the Recorders Office.

* Approved Sheriff Sam Craig to hire a full-time dispatcher to replace one who resigned, a new jail officers, to fill a current vacancy and to hire a police officer to replace an officer who is retiring August 1.

The council also approved the hiring of a new part-time dispatcher.

"This position is an on-call and as-needed position," Craig told the council. "This way it will save paying overtime to a full-time employee filling in when someone is sick or goes on vacation."

* The council appointed Mark Bryant to the Mitchell Public Library Board.

* Approved an addendum to the salary ordinance to clarify full and part time employment status for the insurance health reform bill.

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