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Lawrence County Officials Allocate Funds To Pay For Courthouse Renovations

Last updated on Wednesday, July 24, 2013

(BEDFORD) - Lawrence County officials are now ready to move forward with the $2.2 million courthouse renovations.

The county council voted to accept the recommendations of a special committee made up of Commissioner Bill Spreen, Councilmen Keith Dillman, Jim Edwards and Mark Mathis, along with Auditor Jody Edwards on how to pay for those renovations.

In November, a county council committee recommended $1 million from the sale of Dunn Memorial Hospital to St. Vincent Hospital be earmarked for the 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.

But the problem - there is not grant money available.

"We have tried for a year to secure grant money," says Commissioner Bill Spreen. "We have exhausted every possible means through grant searches and there is just no grant money available."

So the committee recommended the county use $1 million from the sale of the hospital and to use $1 million from the county's Rainy Day fund with a speculation - that $500,000 will be paid back at $100,000 each year from Cum-Cap.

The council with the approval of Commissioners Bill Spreen and David Flinn, who both attended Tuesday's meeting, voted to accept that recommendation.

Architura's Michael Conly reported the project would cost $2,040,000.

Mark Heirbrant, a senior account executive for Ameresco, an independent energy service company recommended a new variable refrigerant flow heating, ventilation, and air conditioning system, estimated at $1.2 million.

Conley estimated the window replacements (more than 100) and repairs to the courthouse's north entrance totaled $840,000.

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