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County forced to move court
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During one of the hottest summers in Warren County history, one of the air conditioners at the courthouse has quit working. County Executive John Pelham’s office is presently taking bids on replacing the air conditioning system. Bids will be opened Aug. 13.
In the meantime, Judge Bart Stanley has been holding court at the Administrative Building on Locust Street.
“They can’t have court in the courthouse. It’s too hot in there,” said Commissioner Wayne Copeland.
Added Pelham, “We need to get this air conditioner fixed. I know those folks are inconvenienced. We had a day over here yesterday (Wednesday) like I’ve not seen in six years. You could not park over here yesterday with early voting going and the court system here. They probably had well over 100 people. You couldn’t get through the hallways. They were standing in the halls. We had about 50 prisoners up here.”
Bids have to be taken because the new unit will most likely cost more than $5,000. Anything more than $5,000 for county government and school system must be voted on and approved by commissioners and then put out to bid.
Director of Schools Bobby Cox informed the Warren County Financial Management committee of a problem at Eastside School.
Cox said Eastside was built in 1967 and at that time a switcher valve was not put into the field line to separate the grease coming from the kitchen and the water flowing. The water is not draining properly.
Two new septic lines need to be installed in addition to the two field lines there now. Cox said repairing the septic system was originally in the plan for the 2013-14 school year, but it needs to be done now. He went on to say adding new field lines will not hamper the start of school. Commissioners voted to approve putting out to bid the septic work. Bids will be opened Aug. 13.
Cox also informed commissioners of a need for more cafeteria tables at Dibrell Elementary. When the addition was built, the school system sold the old tables and purchased the same amount of tables that were in the old cafeteria.
Cox said they would like to purchase seating for 48 more people. This would amount to four tables which seat 12 people each. The tables purchased previously cost $1,200 each. The committee voted to approve the purchase even though the $4,800 fell below the $5,000 purchasing limit.
Linda Hillis, Finance Department director suggested the committee rethink its $5,000 spending limit for the courthouse and school system.
“We actually have two bid limits. The Highway Department’s is at $10,000. Five thousand dollars doesn’t go as far as it did when the Private Act was changed several years ago. I don’t know if that’s something the committee would want to look at or not. You may still want to keep it at $5,000. But, the air conditioner would not have had to be bid if it is not over $10,000,” said Hillis.
Said Cox, “That’s what we’re going to try do every time – get the lowest price and the best equipment. I’m looking at everything as it comes through anyway, and if it’s an excessive amount then I’m stopping it in its tracks right there.”