Two months late, courthouse addition still not complete

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By Lorrie Kinkade

More than two months after the expected construction completion date, officials are still awaiting finishing touches to the Trimble County courthouse addition.

During the Aug. 18 regular meeting of the Trimble County Fiscal Court, magistrates received an update on the project from architect Bing Ewen of DLZ, Inc.

According to the county’s contract with Louisville company Brasch-Berry General Contractors, work was to have been completed on the 3,000-sq. ft. addition by June 10; however, supervisor David Mefford notified Ewen on April 14 that weather delays would push that date back to June 27.

As of this week, minor details under the charge of the contractor were still incomplete, Judge-Executive Randy Stevens said.

“Even if it is taking longer than it should, I think the county clerk will have a first-rate space to offer services,” he said. “I just wish he could already be in there like we expected.”

In addition to the contractor’s incomplete punch list items, the court is still awaiting delivery of countertops for the office designed for county clerk Jerry Powell, as well as outside electrical service for use at events such as the upcoming Trimble County Apple Festival.

Magistrate Kirby Melvin said he is disappointed with both the architect and general contractor’s failure to meet deadlines and perform tasks in a timely manner.

“I think it should be well documented and understood that we are all dissatisfied,” Stevens added.

Magistrates agreed unanimously to have Ewen oversee the additional electrical work at the courthouse, which Stevens told Ewen must be complete in time for next month’s Apple Festival.

“One way or another, the Apple Festival’s going to have electric,” he said.

In other court business:

*Fiscal court members are considering adding fire department subscription dues to county property tax bills to help ensure departments are funded equally and not just by a portion of local property owners. A work session will be held in the near future to discuss the proposition in greater detail.

“This is not a tax and not meant to be. It is just to put everyone on a level playing field,” magistrate Nolin Hamilton said.

*Emergency management director Ronnie McCane informed the court that radios required for the county’s new emergency frequency had been distributed and were working well. Stevens said there is a possibility that the state 911 board may reimburse the county for the $30,000 expenditure.

*Hoskins and Son Excavating was awarded the bid to construct a competition horse arena at the county park. The local company turned in a bid of $12,800 for the job, which will be paid with grant money held in the park development fund.

*Magistrates passed a resolution honoring road department retiree Steve Teague’s 28 years of service with the county. A similar resolution will be presented to recent retiree Bobby Horine who also had 28 years in with the department.

*Magistrates received an update on the local base of Air Methods air ambulance service, formerly StatCare. Rumors have recently circulated that the medical helicopter service may be leaving the county, however Stevens and Milton Fire Chief Ronnie Barnes said nothing is definite at this time. According to both men, the service is currently experiencing a lack of employees to staff the base around the clock and therefore has cut back to “peak hours,” which Barnes said is 6 a.m. to 10 p.m. generally.

“Whatever happens with this, we will have a helicopter in Trimble County,” Barnes said after the meeting. “I’ll guarantee that.”