County approves plan for funds

Published 8:44 am Wednesday, June 13, 2018

Includes courthouse improvements, 911 center

The Lawrence County Commission approved a plan for its one-time state funding of $4,813,885.91 to counteract its loss of Medicaid Managed Care Organization (MCO) sales tax at its meeting Thursday.

The money will be placed into a capital improvement fund, which will be used for improvements throughout the county, including county courthouse improvements and the Joint Response Operations Center (JROC) it purchased in Coal Grove in January.

Of the $4.8 million, $2,781,317 will be put toward the courthouse preservation plan, which will be completed by the Perfection Group out of Cincinnati.

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“The Lawrence County Courthouse was originally built in 1908 and has not had any significant rehabilitation or refurbishment since the construction of the court annex in the 1970s, other than replacement windows, a new boiler and a new chiller that were installed over 10 years ago. The Perfection Group, which is an engineering and design firm, has spent the last two years analyzing and determining what needs to be done to the buildings soon in order to preserve the courthouse,” a letter outlining the courthouse preservation plan states. “Alarmingly, the findings included the need for new roofs on both the original and annex portions of the courthouse, the need to re-seal the masonry work, the need to repair and bring to code the sidewalks and parking areas, HVAC replacement, and the restoration of the Dome of the Courthouse. With the MCO fund making the significant down payment, the remaining cost of the needed building preservation can be financed over 20 years, which will enable the county to afford this project with limited impact on its annual cash flow.”

Work to be completed on the old courthouse includes flat roof and gutters, dome refurbishment, masonry revitalization, HVAC, sidewalk/steps/parking lot/landscape improvements, pest control and lighting retrofit. Work to be completed on the annex includes roof, side door replacement, HVAC, elevator upgrades, lighting retrofit and a fire alarm upgrade.

The projected project total would be $6,591,317. Along with the $2.7 million in MCO money, $190,000 will come from GAP financing, while the remaining $400,000 will be financed over 20 years.

Lawrence County Chief Deputy Auditor Chris Kline said the county’s current debt is very low, around three percent, and will be paid off within the next five years, making the project financially feasible for the county’s general fund.

Another part of the MCO plan is to use $1 million for the new 911/EMA services building the county purchased in Coal Grove. Of the $1 million, $275,000 was the purchase price for the building, $675,000 would be used for construction and setup costs and the remaining $50,000 for contingencies.

The building is a former Ford dealership, and more recently, a building used by Lawrence County Developmental Disabilities, located at 715 Lane Street.

The remaining $1,032,568.91 from the one-time MCO funding will be left for the use of future capital improvements, such as plans to develop a new county jail.

In other action, the commission:

• Received and filed the Dog Warden Report dated May 26, 2018.

• Approved six floodplain permits.

• Received and filed the May 2018 EMS monthly report.

• Approved 10 appropriations.

• Approved 16 transfer funds.

• Approved Dale Manns as a planning commission member for a three-year term beginning June 1, 2018 through May 31, 2021.

• Terminated the contracts of EMS employees Phil Duncan and Paul Rideout for not meeting the probationary requirements, effective May 30, 2018.

• Approved the status change for Robert Carpenter from part-time paramedic to full-time paramedic, effective June 25, 2018.

• Approved the resignation of EMS employee Julie Marcello, effective June 18, 2018.

• Received and filed the correspondence from Shawnee Mental Health regarding the property  located at 223 Carlton Davidson Lane, Coal Grove.

• Received and filed the correspondence from the Lawrence County Auditor’s Office regarding county building infrastructure.

• Met in executive session with Chris Kline regarding real estate.

• Met in executive session with Chris Kline regarding personnel; hire, fire, reprimand.

• Met in executive session with Lisa Pine and Chris Kline regarding personnel; hire, fire, reprimand.