Bud­get work­shop cov­ers roads crew, court­house

Kent County News - - NEWS - By JACK RODGERS jrodgers@thekent­coun­tynews.com

CHESTERTOWN — In­terim Public Works Di­rec­tor Wayne Mor­ris dis­cussed county roads, build­ing main­te­nance and en­vi­ron­men­tal op­er­a­tions dur­ing Tues­day’s Kent County Com­mis­sion­ers’ bud­get work­shop ses­sion.

Equip­ment re­quests from the roads divi­sion for the next fis­cal year bud­get in­clude a dump truck, bucket truck and brush chip­per.

County Ad­min­is­tra­tor Shel­ley Heller said that the divi­sion should think about pri­or­i­tiz­ing items for fund­ing within all bud­gets.

Mor­ris said an im­por­tant item to be funded is the re­lo­ca­tion of an elec­tric panel at the Duck Pud­dle Re­cy­cling and Waste Dis­posal dropoff site in Kennedyville. An­other was a front-end wheel loader, which lists for $195,800.

An­other stick­ing point in the county’s bud­get dis­cus- sions is the main­te­nance of and pro­posed ad­di­tions to the Kent County Court­house.

Heller said that while there are is­sues about the amount of space in the build­ing, other con­cerns are more se­ri­ous, such as re­mov­ing as­bestos from the build­ing and fix­ing plumb­ing and elec­tri­cal prob­lems.

Part of the prob­lem is hav­ing to re­move em­ploy­ees from the build­ing while ren­o­va­tions are com­pleted.

Com­mis­sioner Bill Short asked for dol­lar fig­ures for an ad­di­tion to the court­house, along with the costs to bring the build­ing up to code.

Heller said the com­mis­sion­ers should re­quest a meet­ing with an en­gi­neer­ing con­sul­tant who would eval­u­ate the costs to the court­house.

Short dis­cussed a pri­vate com­pany ren­o­vat­ing the va­cant Ad­mi­ral Clean­ers build­ing near the court­house, then leas­ing the space back to the county. He said the sit­u­a­tion would be a lease to the county un­til ren­o­va­tions were com­plete.

He also said that he would rather not spend money on study­ing the best op­tion or de­sign­ing a new build­ing, as the fee is over $700,000.

Mor­ris said he thought the county would have to spend that re­gard­less, to en­sure any build­ing court­house ser­vices were moved to would be fea­si­ble.

Heller said the county might ex­plore op­tions on the bond mar­ket to fund main­te­nance and con­struc­tion on the court­house. She also said there is a pos­si­bil­ity to ta­ble the con­ver­sa­tion if a pri­vate busi­ness was to lease space to the county.

Also dis­cussed were stor­age fa­cil­i­ties for county roads’ equip­ment at the Wor­ton main­te­nance fa­cil­ity.

Short said the county should look at pre­fab­ri­cated build­ings as space for stor­age in­stead of in­vest­ing in an en­gi­neer­ing study.

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