Commission takes care of business

Commissioners make decisions on multiple agenda items

GRAFTON—The Taylor County Commission was taking care of business last week, approving vehicle purchases, allowing office upgrades and discussing funding support.

Sheriff Terry Austin presented the commission with the cost of a vehicle for the department. Austin told the commission, he would like to purchase a 2017 GMC Sierra, which would be used as his vehicle. Commissioner Rusty Efaw asked why Austin was choosing a truck over another SUV.

“Most of the other departments around have a truck,” shared Austin. “In the fall, when we go out and dig up marijuana plants, we don’t have anything to easily transport them in. A truck would be useful to haul items.”

He went on to explain that in his current SUV, there isn’t much room.

“With what little I have I the back of it, it is already full. We need more room,” expressed Austin.

Austin told the commission that, should they approve the purchase, which is approximately $33,000, and would be paid for with the remaining hail-damage insurance money, he would cover the cost of outfitting the truck with lights, radios and whatever else was needed.

“To outfit a vehicle with everything we need, it would cost somewhere between $5,000-$7,000. I would use money out of some of the other accounts in the Sheriff’s Department for that cost,” explained Austin.

The commissioners questioned what Austin was going to do with the vehicles that still had damage from the hail. He told them that he planned on having work done to some. Austin also explained that his current vehicle would be passed down the line to the next officer.

The commissioners approved the purchase of the truck with the remainder of the insurance money, stating that Austin would be responsible for any additional costs. They noted that the department would still be eligible for their annual vehicle purchase in July, as well.

During the meeting, the commissioners approved up to $5,000 for furniture and equipment upgrades for the Circuit Clerk’s Office, and approved a bid, from Stone Mountain Service Works, for not more than $1,200 to clean the carpeted areas in the courthouse.

They also approved a $3,000 donation to the Spirit of Grafton, but said they would like something showing what their money was used for.

In addition, the commission heard from Doug Robison concerning the American Legion’s Annual Mountaineer Boys Sate fund request. Robinson reported that since the last meeting, the number of boys who were attending has decreased.

“Unfortunately, we are down to two boys attending now. The other two have decided not to go, because their commitments with their traveling soccer teams,” shared Robinson. “So, our funding needs have dropped to $1,600.”

Robinson told the commission that they were able to raise about $1,000 of their total need. The commission agreed to donate the remaining $600.

City Manager Kevin Stead paid a visit to the commissioners to ask for help with the asbestos removal and abatement at the old Grafton Middle School. He told commissioners that the city council had a bid come in for approximately $285,000.

“The owner of the building says that she is able to give $25,000 toward the project, and when she sends the check, she will deed the building over,” explained Stead. “If the commission would like to have the building we will have her deed it to you, but if not, we will have it deeded over to the City.”

According to Stead, all the plaster on the ground level, from the ceilings to floors, has tested positive for asbestos, as well as around the furnaces. He said they are unclear just how much asbestos there is throughout the rest of the building, but that the building is not salvageable.

“The City will be responsible for covering the addition $260,000, and are willing to do so, but we wanted to reach out for some assistance,” disclosed Stead.

Commission President Orville Wright said they would have to take the issue under advisement to see what could be done legally by them, as well as check into alternative funding sources.

“Grants are a no-go, because the building is not owned by us, but there might be loans out there available,” reported Wright.

The commissioners agreed to take the issue under advisement, so that some research could be done involving funding.

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