By Meg Dickens
The Johnson County Courthouse is in desperate need of repairs. Both the Johnson County Commissioners and Budget Committee discussed this at their September meetings. The most pressing issue is the roof. This issue is leading to more damage, which will increase future expenses.
The jury box damage is an excellent example of this. The damaged ceiling has curled the relatively new hardwood flooring in the box. Other than cosmetic damage, County Lawyer Perry Stout pointed out the possible health risk in the upcoming winter months. Toxic molds, such as the common mold Stachybotrys chartarum, thrive in moist wood, paper, drywall, and other similar materials.
“The roof is currently a liability,” Stout pointed out. “It’s a matter of public record.”
This project will reduce liability as well as increase building value. The courthouse’s R-value will increase from R4 to R24 after repairs. R-value measures insulation effectiveness, which affects heating and cooling costs.
No local companies put in a bid for the job, although one showed interest before the formal bid. Morristown Roofing gave the best price at $109,685, which includes repairing the jury box hole, painting, replacing skylights with LED lights in the current frames, and giving the currently flat roof a 6-inch drop.
Keeping the skylights would increase repair costs by $8,000 and increase heating and cooling costs. Funding for the roofing project will come from the Capital Projects Fund.
“In the process of time, things like roofing wear out and must be repaired or sometimes replaced,” said Mayor Mike Taylor. “I am happy that the County Commission was able to appropriate the funds to replace this portion of the roof. We are pleased to say that this year, we are able to make these repairs while maintaining a balanced budget without a tax increase.”
Morristown workers estimate that this project will take five days. It is paramount that repairs are finished before winter, so construction is set to start sometime this October. The specific date is to be determined.
The Johnson County Commission meets the third Thursday of each month at
6 PM at the Johnson County Courthouse. These meetings are open to the public.
Concerned citizens can
sign up to speak before the meeting.