BY KRISTEN BUCKLES
Aging roofs on the Greene County Courthouse and the nearby Greene County Detention Center will likely result in expensive repairs at both locations, a County Commission committee was told Wednesday.
County Mayor Alan Broyles explained during the meeting of the Greene County Budget & Finance Committee that the county is currently taking bids for repairs and roofing at the courthouse and jail.
While a total cost is not yet known, he presented a request for $1,383 from the county government's Capital Projects Fund to cover the cost of twice having had to rent lifts to survey the damage and present it for bidders.
Broyles said the county first became aware of the problem while painting the General Sessions Courtroom.
Maintenance Director Russell Kinser said workers noticed that a corner of the back wall appeared to show some water damage.
"We just happened to be lucky enough to come across it," he noted.
Further investigation revealed that the building had settled, leaving the back portion of the roof less effective. That settling has, over time, caused the brick to move about three inches away from the structure of the building, Kinser said.
Broyles noted that structural engineers have reviewed the problem.
"It's going to take a lot of money to fix it," he forewarned. "I just hope we have enough in Capital Projects [to pay for it.]"
However, Budget Director Mary Shelton immediately started to shake her head.
She reported that less than $48,500 remains in the Capital Projects Fund.
Commissioner Robert Bird recalled that the roof was last redone on the courthouse in the 1990s, at which time the county added a slope to the then-flat roof and installed larger downspouts.
Kinser noted having found in his recent exploration of the roof that the guttering had not been connected correctly.
As for the jail roof, he said the problem areas are over the sally port and the exercise area.
The county replaced the roof on the Sheriff's Department last year after approving up to $52,400 for the expenditure. (The Sheriff's Department is sandwiched between the courthouse and the jail on W. Depot Street.)
Broyles said that some people have questioned why the county would show interest in repairing the roof of the jail when the commission is also exploring options for a new or different building.
"You've got to maintain what you've got," he said, noting that "water is pouring in."
"I dread to see what that is going to cost," he concluded.
The committee unanimously approved the request to pay for the $1,383 lift fees out of Capital Projects as a recommendation for the County Commission.
In other projects, the committee "re-approved" $5,500 for the pouring of two concrete slabs for new compactors at what will be the new site of the Hal Henard Road Convenience Center.
The money had been appropriated in the 2011-2012 fiscal year, but the project was delayed when the County Commission approved moving the center for safety reasons.
Solid Waste Director Hubert Metcalf noted that the funds moved back into his fund balance when they were not used in the prior fiscal year.
He requested that the committee recommend the funds move back into his budget for the upcoming completion of the project.
The committee unanimously approved this request as a recommendation to the County Commission.
The committee also approved for recommendation to the commission several grants or carryover funds from grants for various departments, including:
* $145,873 in carryover funds from a 2010 Federal Homeland Security Grant to the Greene County Emergency Management Agency (EMA) for equipment, supplies and training;
* $48,436 in carryover funds from a 2011 Federal Homeland Security Grant to EMA for equipment; and,
* a $9,371 Appalachian High-Intensity Drug Trafficking Area (HIDTA) Subrecipient Grant for overtime payments for undercover and other drug investigations.
In addition, the committee approved for recommendation $16,480 for the Sexual Offender Registration reserve, which comes from fees to recover the cost associated with updating the offender's fingerprints, palm prints, photograph, and TBI registration form, according to the resolution.
The resolution also notes that the fee can only be used for administrative costs.
Shelton also presented a resolution to correct two spreadsheet calculation errors related to the costs of increasing county employee salaries by 2 percent, as approved by the County Commission as part of the recent property tax increase.
"I have to take responsibility for this," she explained. "This was an error on my part."
Shelton explained that she accidentally did not increase the salary of a part-time employee in the Agriculture Extension Service Department, but increased the salary of a paraprofessional in the Inspections and Regulations budget by 4 percent.
The resolution deducted the extra $180 from the paraprofessional and transferred it to the part-time employee to correct the problem.
Finally, the committee also approved two interbudgetary transfers.
Circuit Court Clerk Pam Venerable requested $33,372 in transfers within her budget, explaining that she previously served as chief deputy clerk and bookkeeper under former Circuit Court Clerk Gail Davis Jeffers.
Venerable moved one clerical employee already in the office, Penny Davis, to chief deputy clerk and hired a new employee.
She said she also moved another individual to bookkeeper for $26,196, in part by utilizing some of the savings derived from these individuals' starting out at a lower rate than what she had made.
An additional $7,176 in savings covered the cost of increased health insurance costs after some employees increased their health care plans, she said.
Greene County Administrator of Elections Donna Burgner requested $6,000 in transfers within her budget to use savings from a vacant clerical position to help with the costs of temporary personnel during the extended hours for early voting and on Election Day Nov. 6..
The committee approved these requests and set the group's next meeting for 9 a.m. on Thursday, Nov. 7.