Commission discusses courthouse issues

Published 10:40 pm Monday, March 23, 2009

The Chilton County Commission opened bids on a new fire alarm system for the courthouse last night.

State Fire Marshal Ed Paulk is requiring the county to install the system, which could cost nearly $50,000 or more.

Three companies submitted bids, including Southern Electrical Services Inc., Crosby Electric Company, and Crystal Keys Locksmith. The lowest bid was $48,320 submitted by Crystal Keys Locksmith.

The commission voted 6-1 to accept the lowest and most responsive bid pending Commissioner Allen Caton’s inspection of the bids to see that they meet specifications.

Commissioner Red Turnipseed cast the “no” vote, saying Paulk might be willing to work with the county considering its financial situation.

“Money doesn’t grow on trees,” Turnipseed said.

Turnipseed suggested that the commission look into alternatives such as hiring a firewalker on a temporary basis to monitor the building and check for fire hazards.

Other commissioners feared the county could lose money by not acting on the current bids.

“We’ve got a pretty good bid, I think, on the table right now,” Bobby Agee said.

Administrator Vanessa Hendrick said the money could come out of either the land management fund or the building, road and bridge fund.

“There’s money in those funds. Spending that money is not going to hurt our General Fund,” she said. “It’s very restrictive, but it can be used for building issues.”

Courthouse security was also among the issues discussed. The commission voted to issue key cards only at the request of department heads.

“I think that’s good common sense because we could carry some liability just giving anybody a card,” Agee said, adding that the intention of the measure was not to prevent an individual from obtaining a card but to use more scrutiny in issuing key cards.

“The name of the game’s security. That carries a lot of responsibility with it,” County Attorney John Hollis Jackson said.

The commission also went into executive session to discuss possible legal matters at the request of Caton.