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Courthouse Deterioration Needs Attention
by Ashley Murphy

Monday, August 16, 2010

Bradley County Trustee came before the County Commssion today to give his annual department report. Smith stated that the Trustee's office still has plans to implement a 12-month payment plan for property taxes within the department. This will hopefully help many residents during these trying economic times. Unfortunately, the plan won't take effect until sometime between March 2011 and March 2012. Smith stated that the current 4-month payment plan would still be available for residents as an option for paying their property taxes.

Mayor D. Gary Davis informed everyone of the opening of the new Tasso Road out at the airport property and encouraged people to have a drive on it. Commissioner Connie Wilson stated that the road is a vast improvement and that everyone should be proud of it.

Commissioner Jim Smith called on County Engineer Sandra Knight to discuss structural damage that has occurred on the courthouse. Columns on the outside of the courthouse are receiving water damage. Some concrete has eroded in places, allowing water to seep through into the steel. This is most likely causing rust and deterioration. Ultrasounds are scheduled to be taken to further identify problems.

Commissioner Ed Elkins suggested that the courthouse receive inspections on a routine basis so as to keep an eye out for structural damage. It was made known that these repairs had been performed in the past, but no one seemed to know exactly how long each repair had lasted. Knight agreed with Elkins, and even took it a step further to make it known that none of the concrete on the courthouse had been waterproofed and that she would like to see that done at least once a year.

A resolution presented by Commissioner Lisa Stanbery to instruct the Engineering Department to consult on site review drew a discussion from many of the commissioners. Recent work at Lake Forest Middle and now Hopewell Elementary left Stanbery wanting higher communication amongst the planners for projects and the engineering department so that potential problems could be avoided.

Commissioner Connie Wilson made a substitute motion to contact the Superintendent of Schools and the Bradley County Board of Education and come up with a plan for future projects, as far as site planning. The substitute motion was approved and superceded that original.

Next on the agenda was a resolution presented by Commissioner Jeff Yarber to adopt the International Building Codes by reference. Commissioners Howard Thompson and Mel Griffith were in opposition due to builder requests and lack of information. Griffith stated that Polk County, he believed, had opted out of this adoption. County Attorney Joe Byrd stated that if Bradley County were to follow Polk, the State would then come in and take over county inspections. It would no longer be a county job and the State would end up raising fees, leading to exceedingly high costs for Bradley County. The resolution passed with Commissioners Thompson, Griffith and Willodyne Smith voting against it.

The commission also approved resolutions for Fines and Courts Fees and Costs, and to support the submission of a Tiger II and Community Challenge Planning Grant application.

A Bradley County Commission retreat will be held on August 21st at 8:30 a.m. at Bendabout Farms in McDonald.

The Bradley County Commission will meet again on Monday, August 23rd at 7 p.m. in the Courthouse.