LANCASTER — Garrard Fiscal Court faces more concerns in the process of renovating all the county offices. Based on preliminary facts, renovating just the building where County Attorney Mark Metcalf is expecting to relocate will cost more than $100,000.
“We need to work through that issue,” Garrard County Judge-Executive John Wilson said at Wednesday’s Fiscal Court meeting.
Currently, Metcalf’s offices are in a rented space, located on Public Square. The new location, also on the square, is a property owned by the county, known as the Annex. However, the location currently is not “sufficient to his needs,” according to Wilson.
“We are trying to decide what is in the best interest of the public,” Wilson said.
During the meeting, Metcalf asked magistrates to consider whether it would be better to pay the money so he could relocate to a county-owned property or have him remain in his current rental situation, saving that large amount of money, but still paying rent.
According to Wilson, nothing will be decided until more specific plans are drawn up by the architects. Either way, the total renovations will be pricey, forcing the Garrard County Fiscal Court to find the best way to pay for them.
“The initial plan was to borrow the money,” Wilson said, explaining that a loan seems like the best option because, “ ... we don’t have $200,000 sitting around to pay for this.”
When the Fiscal Court passed the budget June 21, after much debate, it anticipated receiving a loan to help with the costs.
In other Garrard Fiscal Court business:
- The Court made it known it expected and welcomed the city of Lancaster filing a lawsuit against the tax on the water meter, which was enacted at a Fiscal Court meeting Sept. 10. The 911 tax was removed from landline phones and instituted on water meters to make the process more balanced for citizens of Garrard and Lincoln counties.
- The Fiscal Court approved a variance allowing Ed Ballard to divide his property, creating a land plat of half an acre, which he plans to give to a family member. Any property less than one acre or more than three tracts of land requires approval from the Fiscal Court to record it. The land already has a house and sewer lines on the property at Richmond Loop 2, which helped the magistrates decide to approve it.
- Magistrates approved the first reading of an ordinance that will approve a lease to finance the Rolling Meadows Project. Property owners in that area have been trying to get the roads up to county standards. According to Judge-Executive John Wilson, the project is set to begin “any day now.” Also, a bid was accepted for the cost of fixing those roads, which will cost an estimated $87,380.
- The Garrard County Extension Service tax rate will remain the same at 3.7 cents per $100 of real property, 11.78 cents per $100 of personal property, and 2.30 cents per $100 for motor vehicle.
- Judge Wilson requested the Court give authorization for Metcalf to enforce a county ordinance that requires the county right-of-way to remain unobstructed.
This proposal arose following a report of a permanent obstruction on a county right-of-way on Dripping Springs Road. County Road Foreman Kenny Kinnaird visited the owner, requesting he move the obstruction, which was a pile of debris Metcalf says looked like old construction materials.
The owner refused to move the debris, according to Wilson. Metcalf visited the property to gain a better understanding of the issue.
After the visit, the owner took care of the situation, which otherwise would have been handled “through the criminal side,” according to Metcalf. With the situation resolving, Metcalf felt the powers the proposal would have granted were unnecessary.
“I don’t need this kind of authority,” Metcalf said. The obstruction would not have needed the authorization of the Court anyway, as it would have been a violation of criminal code.
“I believed it needs Fiscal Court review, not me alone as judge,” Metcalf said. He added if the issue were to become a regular thing, he would come to the Court and ask for such authorization.