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Sullivan County commissioners to discuss courthouse repairs

J. H. Osborne • Feb 19, 2007 at 11:27 AM

BLOUNTVILLE - Repairs to the historic Sullivan County Courthouse are expected to take center stage this morning at a called meeting of the Sullivan County Commission's Building Committee.

The group is scheduled to meet at 8:30 a.m. on the second floor of the historic structure, which needs a new roof and repairs to window lentils that have been damaged by leaks in the roof.

The Sullivan County Commission is scheduled to meet at 9 a.m. - also on the second floor of the courthouse - and the monthly agenda indicates commissioners will be asked to sign off on a courthouse repair plan that could cost up to $60,000 not counting the new roof.

That figure also does not include repair or replacement of damaged rafters or disposal or remediation of any hazardous materials if any are found once work begins.

BurWil Construction Co. of Bristol was the only firm interested enough to submit a proposal to do the work, County Purchasing Agent Nelda Fleenor told county commissioners earlier this month.

The courthouse also needs a new roof - but damage from leaks must be repaired first to make sure workers can climb on the building without fear of a collapse, Claude Smith, construction project manager for the county, said last month.

Fleenor and Smith presented the County Commission's Budget Committee with a Feb. 6 letter from BurWil offering a contract to do the work for "cost plus 10 percent fee and 5 percent overhead" with a guaranteed maximum price of $60,000.

Smith presented a list, from his office, of suggested repairs to the courthouse roof. No cost estimate was included.

Sullivan County's fiscal year 2007 budget included $62,500 for county building renovations. The fiscal year covers county finances from July 1, 2006, until June 30, 2007.

According to a midyear budget report prepared by the county's office of accounts and budgets, that renovation fund had a balance of about $33,000 as of Dec. 31.

The commission agenda also indicates commissioners will be asked to get on board with a request to the state to give the county permission to hike fees for filing court cases by up to $25.

The money would be used to improve security at the county's 14 courtrooms in four different facilities in Blountville, Kingsport and Bristol, Tenn.

Other items on the agenda for the commission meeting:

• Commissioner John McKamey is once again asking fellow commissioners to vote in favor of a committee on consolidation. But this time around, McKamey is making sure the committee's only task would be to study consolidation - not produce a charter to actually merge city and county governments.

• Commissioner Wayne McConnell is again calling for a nepotism policy for the county - to prohibit county employees from hiring their family members or live-in mates. McConnell first proposed a policy to ban allowing relatives to work for one another in county departments last April. But his proposal failed to gain much support among fellow commissioners. Some said there was no point in commission action at that point because the state legislature's session was coming to a close and it wouldn't reconvene until this month. The Tennessee General Assembly would have to approve a private act in order for Sullivan County to implement a nepotism policy.

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