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Courthouse renovations to be discussed

Plans to renovate the Butler County Courthouse and the Courthouse Annex will be discussed Thursday and the Butler County Commission could vote as soon as next month to proceed.

A 4 p.m. meeting of the Butler County Courthouse Renovation Committee will take place April 25 in the meeting room at the Courthouse Annex. During the April 9 meeting and workshop, the Commission discussed the renovation plans with architect Chuck Jones.

“We talked about the places for the elevator to go and also the Courthouse Annex,” Commission Chairman Joey Peavy said during this month’s meeting. “I think we’re in agreement that we’re going to wait until next month and vote on this.”

Commissioner Frank Hickman said his understanding was that the Commission needed to agree to and enter into two contracts with Jones and then corrections and changes would be approved at a later date.

“We could approve these contracts on contingent on these changes being made and move forward,” he said.

The changes to the contracts did not have to do with the actual renovations, but with contractual information including fees and expenses. Hickman made a motion to enter into the contract with Jones.

“I want us to go ahead on move on this,” he said. “The first contract is the courthouse itself, which basically consists of the elevator installation, bathroom location and grant. We would also enter in to the Annex contract. These contracts would be subject to revisions that we approve.”

Allin Whittle seconded the motion and the discussions continued with Commissioner Jesse F. McWilliams questioning approving a contract that the Commission didn’t’ have in hand with the revisions made.

“Am I missing something?” he asked. “We don’t have a final contract.”

Hickman said that the approval of the contract would allow for the necessary changes.

“It’s conditional,” Hickman said.

McWilliams said he was still concerned with not having the changes in writing. Commissioner Darrell Sanders agreed.

“To approve it doesn’t mean we’re moving forward,” Sanders said. “If we get it back, we can sign it and move forward. Time is of the essence.”

The Commission voted 4-1 to approve the contracts, with McWilliams voting against it. More details of the plans will be discussed Thursday and the Commission is expect to move forward with the renovations soon.

The Commission also learned from County Engineer Dennis McCall that dump trucks sold at auction and that the county made money.

“We began this program about 20 years ago,” McCall said. “We approached experts in the trucking industry and the auction industry.  We spec out the trucks based on what contractors want. This year, we realized a true profit — or net gain — of about $17,000 on three trucks.”

Peavy said the purchase of the trucks benefitted the county in several ways with the first being reliable equipment to repair county roads and do services.

“With what we get in the resale value, you get your return on them,” he concluded.