Commission holds more discussions on courthouse building

Published 12:29 pm Wednesday, March 9, 2022

By Carey Reeder | Staff Writer

The Chilton County Commission held more talks about the possible construction of a new courthouse at their meetings on March 8. Commissioner Randell Kelley made comments about the reasons why the commission is considering building a new courthouse due to some of the public questions being asked.

The existing building is too old to withstand an add on, and the added remodeling costs makes it over a $10 million investment.

“As a commissioner of the county, I appreciate the concerns of the people and the questions that have been asked,” Kelley said. “This is a big concern of the county and should be.”

Commissioner Joseph Parnell added onto Kelley’s sentiments on the that the county is working under the exception under the Americans with Disabilities Act due to the entrances, bathrooms and elevators not being ADA compliant.

“Any minor remodeling of the interior of the courthouse would remove our grandfathering with that,” Parnell said.

A rough estimate of what the ADA compliant remodeling would cost is around $2 million. Kelley added that the new roof estimate was around $1.2 million, and with the added remodeling it could add up to over an $8 million project for the county.

“When you put that much money into a building that is valued at $800-$900,000, it doesn’t make sense,” Parnell said.

The Commission approved the nominations of the reappointment of three Chilton County Health Care Authority board members, and one new appointment at their meeting on March 9.

Terri Connell, Samuel Reed and John C. McKinney all received approval to be nominated for two-year terms, and Linda Northcutt was approved to be nominated to replace Ken Patterson at the Health Care Authority on a six-year term.

Nominations were then closed and voting will happen at the March 22 meeting.

Also, during the meeting, the motion to add an ADA compliant bathroom to the tag office passed 5-2 with Commissioner Matthew Mims and Parnell voting against. The cost is $41,447.15 for the bathroom and $5,000 for a sewer pump.

Commissioner Joe Headley proposed an employee fuel reimbursement to help with the ongoing rising gas prices. However, it was brought to attention that the fuel for the sheriff’s office and other county transportation is projected at 10% over costs, before the rises the last two weeks.

The topic will be discussed further.

Also, during the meeting, the Commission:

  • Paid the $2,593.41 invoice for generator repairs to Thompson Cat Dealer.
  • Approved the Ingenuity Contract and have the Chairman sign it was passed.
  • Approved the Emergency Management Agency director job description, and the ability to advertise and hire a new EMA director.
  • Approved a six-month contract for dumpster service and lighting service agreement to change all exterior lights to LED was passed at Higgins Ferry.