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Commissioners Pass Ordinance Establishing Permit Only Parking At Courthouse
Updated June 12, 2018 1:46 PM
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(BEDFORD) - The Lawrence County commissioners passed an ordinance Tuesday morning establishing permit parking only in the parking lot located at 17th and J streets behind Courthouse Plaza.

Only county and state employees will be issued permits. There is no cost for employees for the permits. The employee will surrender their permit when or if their employment is terminated or they leave their position.

Department heads and office managers are responsible for obtaining permits for their employees from the Auditor.

Motorists who park in the lot without a permit will be issued a $50 fine for each offense. The lot will be monitored by Lawrence County Sheriff deputies.

"The lot will be monitored and tickets will be issued," says Commissioner Dustin Gabhart.

Commissioner Gabhart monitored the parking lot for several days and notice many of the violators were those shopping at the St. Vincent Thrift Store. Not only were they using the courthouse parking lot, but Flinn Feed Store lot.

In other business:

Lawrence County Sheriff Mike Branham reported that there were 170 inmates in the jail Tuesday morning, of those 30 were females and 10 were Level 6 felons and one was a Department of Correction hold.

"We are holding steady at a low of 160 to a high of 170," Sheriff Branham says. "It is better than what we were at, but the numbers will pickup over the next month, that is our busy season.

The problem with high numbers in the jail is the ability to keep the department staffed.*

"Employee turnover is a problem," Sheriff Branham added. "They are being hired away to Crane and other higher paying jobs. It is a struggle to get good applicants because we work weird hours and weekends and with only paying $10 an hour it is hard to keep them. They have to attend trainings and re-trained. Now we are facing a lot of overtime hours because we are short staffed."

Brian Skillman Lawrence County Human Resource Director says he is working with the Sheriff to address the situation, but the county has no recruiting budget and most pleas for employees has been done on Facebook and other media outlets that are free.

"The problem is keeping them once they are hired," Skillman added.

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RQAW Corporation who is overseeing the project of installing grinders in the sewer system at the jail has asked local businesses to submit bids for the projects. Those bids will be submitted at the next commissioners meeting on June 26th.

The grinders are needed because inmates have been flushing wrappers from items purchased from commissary, clothing and other items down the toilets at the jail thus clogging the city's sewer lines. The county is taking steps to stop the lines from being clogged by installing grinders in the sewer systems to address the problem.

Sheriff Mike Branham says the blockage has occurred several times this year and many times the blockage has been found blocks away from the jail, causing lines to backup in area businesses and homes.

The project should take about six months to complete.

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Lawrence County Highway Superintendent David Holmes says crews are working cutting brush and mowing.

The rain has pushed back paving projects.

"Work should pick back up next week," he added.

Holmes continues to to work on the Community Grant bid packages. All the work will be done next year.

The Asset Management report is complete and being reviewed by the state.

Holmes reported a third of Lawrence County's 128 bridge inspections are completed.

"We have 40 done and found no major problems except the closing of Bridge 139 at Otis Park," he added. "I have a contractor looking over the bridge and should know more next meeting. It will need a complete rehab if we keep it open to traffic it is not going to be a cheap."

Highway crews will close and begin replacing the bridge on Hayes Road by Old Guthrie the first of next week.

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Emergency Management Director Valerie Luchauer shared she continues to work on the healthcare coalition plan. She is currently writing an emergency exercise.

"We will have an exercise where a tornado will hit Westview Nursing and Rehabilitation Center. It will be similar to the exercise we had in Mitchell," she added. "The exercise will take place in July.



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