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Courthouse to undergo upgrades

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To-do list includes new carpet, paint, filing cabinets

By KEVIN KOELLING
Managing Editor

TELL CITY – The Perry County Redevelopment Commission voted in a regular meeting April 5 to authorize County Auditor Connie Berger to spend up to $35,000 to replace a filing system she said was taken from the county’s old courthouse.

The commission was discussing maintenance work necessary on the current courthouse, and member Paul Malone said officeholders were to have provided lists of needs they were aware of.

Berger said she’d received a $25,000 quote from the Peterson Polk Co. to replace the filing cabinets, but she may need additional units.

Those in use now were taken from the county courthouse in Cannelton when the new one opened in Tell City in 1994. Berger said they were repainted at Dauby’s Body Shop before going into the new building.

Commission member Pete Franzman said he knew the old filing system had been a problem for some time. He offered a motion to authorize Berger to spend up to $35,000 contingent upon on her seeking other quotes. The money would come from the county’s debt-service fund.

Franzman said Tom Schipp of Ferdinand’s Universal Design Associates estimated the cost for plans detailing work identified by courthouse workers will cost $17,500 “on the high side.”

“He said he’ll keep it as low as he can,” Franzman said of Schipp.

The work will include tearing down all wallpaper and replacing it with paint, Franzman said, adding the cost of that part of the effort can be kept low because community-service workers can do it. Some ceiling tiles and nearly all of the carpet in the building needs to be replaced and repairs and updates are needed in the building’s men’s room, he explained.

A courtroom jury box isn’t large enough and needs to be made wheelchair-accessible and air handlers need to be repaired or replaced.

Franzman said several hours went into going through the building and talking to office-holders about problems.

Plans should be finalized by May 24, he said, and after bids are sought and received, the work could begin about July 15. The commission opted in an annual reorganization to retain their current slate of officers, meaning Malone will continue as president, Marvin Rogier retained the vice president’s role and Bernard Hermann the secretary’s duties.

Attorney Chris Goffinet informed the commission about balances in county funds relevant to the area of the courthouse and new jail. A debt-service fund was established to build the courthouse in the 1990s, he said. Its balance stood at $286,196.65 after bonds were paid off.

“It’s to be used for the benefit of this area … and will not grow,” Goffinet said. “Once it’s used, it’s gone.”

A tax-increment-financing fund, which also will not grow, Goffinet said, stood at $1,227.94. Money from that fund has gone into the recent courthouse roof and other repairs. Berger said most of it would be gone when she makes the final payment on the roof work.

A tax-increment-financing allocation fund will continue to receive funds as long the courthouse area remains a TIF district, Goffinet explained. It can be used only according to a TIF allocation plan.

“Essentially what it says is we can use that money for capital improvements and other improvements to the courthouse proper” or other facilities in the area, “which would include the jail,” Goffinet said. It received $125,000 last year, Berger said, and the balance stood at $637,296.36.