Commission looks at Courthouse renovations

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, March 9, 2005

The Marengo County Commission has several new projects on the table including renovations to the courthouse. However, there are a few projects from years past the commission would like to see completed as well. At Tuesday’s monthly meeting the entire panel agreed there were issues they needed to look into before they add too many new projects/

Commissioner Max Joiner said he has noticed many projects that have waited for some time. Joiner said these projects need to be wrapped up before the commission has too much on their platter.

“We have a project we need to finish up that has been on the board for three and a half years,” Joiner said. “Those people are angry and I don’t blame them. I can’t stop the rain and I can’t do the work, but these are some of the projects I would like to see us do before we get into any new priorities.

I want to get some of these things off the board.”

Commission Chairman Freddie Armstead said he was aware of the problems and has discussed it with County Engineer Ken Atkins. He said the two were looking at possible solutions.

“We have discussed this issue a lot and I think we need to do something about it,” Armstead said. “I talked to the engineer and we have sat down and talked about what roads we would do. I think it is going to take saying this month we are going to need a whole crew in a certain place.”

One suggestion was to sub some of the contract work out. Commissioner Calvin Martin felt this could speed up the process.

“It is obvious our county crews are overloaded,” Martin said. “Maybe we need to start subbing some of the work out.”

Armstead said this idea was good for getting the work done faster, but could hurt the budget.

“When we do the work we are basically saving money for the county,” Armstead said. “I have asked Ken about subbing some of the work out and he said we need to do it ourselves because we are actually saving money. If we were paying a contractor to do it we would be involved in a lot more money.”

Joiner said he has heard the complaints and they are all legitimate. He said he was certain the entire commission was sympathetic to the peoples needs.

“I understand what people are saying,” Joiner said. “I don’t have all the answers, but I do know these are some of the possibilities I would like to see us explore just to improve some of these small, short dirt situations that we have where people actually have to struggle to get in and out when the weather is bad.”

Joiner said the biggest issue was making sure the projects did not get lost in the shuffle.

“We are about to be looking at a situation here where there are renovations going on that are going to be making demands on our time,” Joiner said. “We need closure for these projects and I am willing to do whatever it takes to have it.”

Armstead said he is willing to cooperate to get the overdue projects completed.

” I am willing to work with this commission to do whatever we need to do,” Armstead said. “We are all Marengo Countians and I am willing to work with everyone. It is time we do something about this.”

One suggestion was for each commissioner to discuss what projects needed to be done most in their district and choose a day to ride with engineer to show what needs to be done. The commission assured the citizens of Marengo County they would work to the best of their ability to repair the problems.