Committee approves funding for design work on courthouse security upgrades

Published 4:10 pm Thursday, December 7, 2017

A funding request which the Carter County Commission last month voted to send to the Budget Committee for approval is now headed back to the county’s governing body.

During the November meeting of the Carter County Commission, Carter County Mayor Leon Humphrey presented a request for the Commission to allocate $8,000 from the county’s reserve fund balance to pay for design services by Reedy & Sykes Architecture and Design.

Humphrey said the project has been in works for several months, but designs are needed at this time to allow the project to move forward with planning.

Subscribe to our free email newsletter

Get the latest news sent to your inbox

The main scope of the project is to improve security and safety at the courthouse by creating a single point of entry for public access, installing electronic security doors in the building, and updating the camera surveillance system.

Members of the Commission took issue with the fact the funding request was presented directly to the full body without first being approved by the committees involved in the project — the Courthouse Security Committee, the Buildings and Grounds Committee, and the Budget Committee. Under the Commission’s bylaws and procedures, funding requests are to be first be presented to the budget committee for consideration except for emergency situations.

Ultimately the Commission voted to send Humphrey’s request to the Budget Committee for consideration.

During the Budget Committee meeting on Monday evening, members heard the request from Humphrey.

“This is a critical component of the courthouse security project the Courthouse Security has been working on,” Humphrey said.

The designs are needed so the county can put the project out for bids.

At this time, Humphrey said, there is no estimate available for what the project to improve security at the courthouse will cost.

“We don’t know what the entire cost for the project is going to be until we bid it out,” he said.

Humphrey told members of the Budget Committee there are fund reserves in the Litigation Fund as well as the Courthouse Security Fund which could be used to cover the cost of the design work.

According to Humphrey, the County previously contracted with Reedy & Sykes for the design work for the project and now must pay for the designs to be completed so the project can move forward.

Commissioner Ronnie Trivett made a motion to take $8,000 from the litigation fund to cover the costs of design work for the project. Commissioner Ross Garland provided the second for the motion.

The motion passed the committee by a vote of 6-2. Commissioners Trivett, Garland, Al Meehan, L.C. Tester, John Lewis, and Kelly Collins voted in favor of the fund transfer. Commissioner Dr. Robert Acuff and Budget Committee Chairwoman Commissioner Sonja Culler both cast votes against the fund transfer.