County building repairs causing expense burdens

Pulaski County is preparing to drop some major cash as county officials prepare to fix structural work that is overdue on two county buildings including the courthouse and annex building. 
During a recent meeting between the county commissioners and council, several of the upcoming repair projects were addressed and to taxpayers it might appear to be a random choice of projects.  
He used the example of the annex building structure. The exterior of the building is crumbling and moisture will start causing further problems. But the priority of repairs is to replace the roof. Johnston said the roof will be fixed within the next couple of months and the exterior of the building will be on the plan for next year. The cost of fixing the exterior of the building is estimated to be about $28,000. 
Fixing the annex roof was approved during the joint session on June 12. The estimated cost of the project is $16,000. Johnston estimated about 50 holes in the annex roof. The roof is foam and deteriorating because of general wear. 
Not only do the priorities shift but other problems occur such as the complaint that was made to the Indiana Occupational Safety and Health Administration (IOSHA) by a county employee. The county recently received a complaint from IOSHA and Johnston reviewed each of the seven complaints with the county commissioners during a June 19 meeting. The complaints included a loose handrail, pinch points in the newly updated bathrooms, mold in the assessor’s office, the courtroom ceiling falling in, electrical outlets being overloaded, bald electrical wires and wires hanging from a box in the maintenance room.  Some of those issues such as the pinch point and loose handrail could be addressed immediately, according to Johnston. Others such as the bald electrical wires he was unaware of. 
One problem that is taking precedence is the elevator motor breaking. Johnston said the elevator motor appears to be original and is estimated to be about 27 years old. He said he’s been unable to find paperwork indicating the motor has ever been replaced. When the motor broke, there became a question of whether the county should fix the current motor because the plans for the new elevator were beginning. The new motor costs $5,225 for the equipment and the installation.  
One of the more costly projects the county is undertaking will be repairing the exterior of the courthouse. In the next couple of months, Johnston said a reassessment of the courthouse exterior will be completed. During the June 12 joint session, the commissioners and council approved to spend $60,000 on the assessment from the rainy day fund.  
After the reassessment is completed, the job will be bid out. Work most likely will not begin until the spring of next year, due to repairs not being completed in the winter months. 
After the exterior of the courthouse has been repaired, Johnston said the plan is to address the interior of the building. Johnston said he has spoken with the commissioners and the council about the future plans.

See the full story in the Pulaski County Journal, available in print and e-edition.

Pulaski County Journal

114 W. Main Street
Winamac, IN 46996

Office Number: (574) 946-6628
Fax Number: (574) 946-7471

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