By Nate Smith
WASHINGTON — The old county highway garage on S.E. Third Street was deemed unsuitable for file storage Monday and the Daviess County Commissioners said something has to be done to solve the county’s space issues.
“It’s time to do something,” Commissioner Tony Wichman said.
The decision came after Clerk Sherri Healy informed the commissioners bats have now been found at the garage, including one deceased bat in a file storage box.
“I will not allow any of my staff to go back there,” Healy said.
Healy said the bats were also found by staff of the Prosecutor’s office. The clerk, prosecutor, recorder and auditor are all required to keep records that are kept in the garage because, due to space, they cannot be kept in the courthouse.
In March, Healy told the commissioners of a recurring issue with spiders at the garage and made their way to the courthouse. Although the garage and courthouse were sprayed, Healy said the spiders have returned.
Commissioners then directed Healy to find storage space, around 4,000 to 6,000 square feet, for the files to be stored.
“Let’s get after it and find a place,” Wichman said.
But while the storage will be a short-term solution, commissioners agreed something has to be done to either build or renovate a building for county offices. Currently, the health department, Purdue Extension, Adult Protective Services and the information technology department are being housed in remodeled homes near the courthouse.
“We don’t need a Taj Mahal, we need an efficient, effective building to build,” Wichman said.
Wichman went on to say a bank on Main Street that is soon to be vacated would not be a suitable place to relocate as well due to aging internals.
The commissioner said that after looking at financials, there might not be much to build with currently due to continued payments for the Daviess County Security Center and other bonds.
“I thought when we paid for the jail, I thought we could do something but I don’t think we can wait until 2018,” Wichman said.
His fellow commissioners agreed.
“We have an ideal location real close, but the funding is going to be a problem,” Commissioner Larry Wilson said.
Commissioner Mike Taylor volunteered to serve on a committee with officeholders and interested county employees on solutions for a new building.
The commissioners released three contractors on bonds for Interstate 69 construction.
The three contractors, T.J. Lambrecht, Fred Weber and White construction, all had significant road building on the interstate and overpasses along the highway. Commissioners said the bonds were released after repairs were made to the interstate.
Lambrecht’s bond was $50,000 while Weber had a $40,000 bond and White’s $65,000 bond was released.
A fourth contractor, Walsh construction, is still in negotiations on its road bond.
No one spoke against plans to build a salvage and recycling plant west of Washington.
Commissioners solicited comments about plans by Cliff Goodman to purchase the old Olon building on CR 300W before they sign a salvage permit by the state.
Goodman plans to recycle large items like cars and appliances and even aluminum cans and cardboard.
He also plans to plant pine trees around the building and area. The center hopes to be open by the start of 2014.
Commissioners said they have received phone calls, but many have been positive.
“I’ve had several phone calls, but they think Daviess County needs a place like this,” Taylor said.
The commissioners signed the state application.
Several non-governmental organizations submitted annual budget requests for upcoming budget hearings.
Ride Solutions, Four Rivers Resource Services, the Southern Indiana Development Commission and Connections submitted requests for funding for 2014. Four Rivers and the SIDC submitted flat requests, $20,000 and $7,625, while Connections submitted a new request, $2,500, for operating expenses.
Ride Solutions did not submit a dollar amount, but asked for an increase in funding. The service said it made 50,000 trips in Daviess County last year.
Following the meeting, the commissioners reviewed its budget to submit to the County Council later this summer.
The commissioner’s next meeting will not be in the morning at the courthouse. It is set for 6:30 p.m. on July 8 at the Daviess County Produce Barn to hear from the Amish community.