Board shifts $500,000 for ‘deferred maintenance’

Tia Lynn Ivey News

The Morgan County Board of Commissioners (BOC) unanimously approved a $500,000 budget amendment in order to prepare for a “deferred maintenance” project that could cost several million dollars in coming years.

At Tuesday’s regular meeting, the BOC voted to move a half a million dollars from the county’s general fund into the capital project fund as the county leaders move forward on creating a plan to complete overdue maintenance needs on four county buildings: the Morgan County Courthouse, the Morgan County Administrative Building, the Morgan County Aquatic Center, and the Morgan County Public Safety Complex.

“This is long overdue,” said Adam Mestres, county manager. “In recent years we have put this off, but we want to get our buildings where they need to be…We wanted to be mindful of taxpayers of the county and not raise taxes to do this. Now that we have some additional revenues, we think it’s time.”

According to Mestres, the goal of the project is to modernize the buildings in a way that will yield long-term savings through energy efficiency and other cost-saving updates.

“We will be dealing with things like lighting, roofs, HVACs, boilers, dehumidifiers, those kind of things. There is a lot of stuff that needs to be done to a lot of our buildings,” said Mestres. “We wanted to focus on the buildings we have before focusing on anything new.”

“There is a lot to be done on these buildings, and they are the most expensive buildings to be done,” said Mestres. “This could cost us several million of dollars to do once it’s all said and done.”

According to Mestres, county leaders are hoping the long-term savings will offset the costs of completing the maintenance projects.

“We hope to come up with energy-saving solutions to cover the cost of capital to be able to fund it. We want to ensure that we come up with a comprehensive plan for the four buildings and a solution to fix all of them at one time,” said Mestres, who noted the county would be reviewing proposals for the project over the next three months.

The BOC also unanimously approved a pay raise for County Attorney Christian Henry, from $140 per hour to $175 per hour.

“It’s in keeping with how surrounding counties pay their attorneys,” said Mestres.

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