(BEDFORD) - The demolition of the old courthouse annex, just north of the jail on I Street should begin soon.
Woodridge Homes Inc. will take down the deteriorating building for $124,700. The building has not been used since 2004, when a building inspection revealed the presence of toxic mold.
The Community Development Block Grant of $259,000 will pay for the demolition and clearance of the annex, first diagnosed with toxic mold in December 2003.
Rhonda Rumble of Southern Indiana Development Commission told the commissioners Tuesday morning that the grant funds have been released.
The vacant building has been an albatross of sorts for nearly a decade. In November 2003, several county employees working within the building informed the commissioners they could no longer tolerate conditions in the dank, deteriorating site. The individuals complained of chronic illness and fatigue attributed to mold and damp conditions in the annex. A decision was made to close the building.
Demolition will begin as soon as Woodridge Homes Inc. provides the county with their bond issues.
In other business:
* The commissioners passed a resolution celebrating the 100th anniversary of the signing of the Smith-Lever Act founding legislation of the nationwide Cooperative Extension System.
"This is a national celebration," says Dave Redman, Purdue Extension Coordinator "According to the records that I have found we have been in Lawrence County since 1916."
Not only is the nation celebrating, but the Purdue Research Farm is also celebrating 100 years. It is the oldest research farm in the state."
Redman says an event is scheduled for August 23.
* The commissioners opened four bids for resurfacing county roads. The bids were taken under advisements.
* Dave Holmes reported back to the commissioners about the additional funding the county received during the 2013 legislative session.
The General Assembly increased total transportation funding by reallocating 1 percent of Indiana's sales tax revenue to the Motor Vehicle Highway Fund and by replacing the Highway Fund appropriation for the State Police and the Bureau of Motor Vehicles with state General Fund dollars. This resulted in a $210 million increase in statewide road funding, with $100 million destined for local units.
Distribution of the new funds began immediately and were to continue through the fiscal year 2015. Portions of the funds were allocated to Bedford, Mitchell and Oolitic.
Holmes estimated the county would receive a $300,000 increase over 2013 funding. He said while that seems like a lot of money, it translates to less than eight additional miles of paving.
On May 5, during a meeting of the commissioners at the courthouse, Ron Pridemore requested an update on the additional funding and if those funds were being used to pave roads.
According to Lawrence County Auditor Jody Edwards the state allocated $1,768,857.66 to the fund in 2012 and $2,010,679.20 in 2013.
Holmes told the commissioners that the surplus was placed into unappropriated funds.
"We weren't sure what we were going to get we based this year's budget on money received during the final five months of 2013," Holmes says.
Edwards confirmed the highway department allocated $50,000 for the purchase of stone and $240,053 for bituminous material. That represents an increase of approximately $280,000 above the 2013 budget.
"That money will be distributed fairly among the county's three districts," Holmes said, "and it will be used to repair and pave roadways."
Edwards said so far in 2014, the state has contributed $1,083,361.98 via the Motor Vehicle Highway Fund.
Holmes added that crews are working endlessly to repair county roadways.
"People are going to have to be patient. I know it is frustrating," he added. "I get calls every day and I sympathize with residents. I understand. It is just going to take time and a lot of money to repair all the roadways."
* Sheriff Sam Craig who was unable to attend because of training, sent over the jail report saying there were 133 inmates in the jail, of those 25 were female and 3 were Department of Correction holds.
He also stated that some minor changes were needed to be done to the south entrance of the courthouse and Tri-County was working on improvements at the north door. He hopes to move security personnel to the north entrance by July 1. The south entrance will then be used by courthouse employees.
* The commissioners appointed Diana Murphy to the Lawrence County Tourism Board.
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