County will improve courthouse beyond what insurance covers

T-R PHOTO BY GARRY BRANDENBURGThe iconic Marshall County Courthouse was one of several downtown structures to take major damage in the tornado late last week. County Buildings and Grounds Director Lucas Baedke said there is no specific timetable for fixing the structure, but said some work could continue a year from now.

Improvements to the Marshall County Courthouse are pushing back the county’s budgeting timeline.

At Tuesday’s Marshall County Board of Supervisors meeting, the supervisors voted unanimously to postpone scheduling a public hearing on the proposed 2018-2019 county budget amendment, citing the damage to the Marshall County Courthouse as the reasoning for the tabling of the agenda item.

Supervisor Dave Thompson explained to those in attendance there are more aspects to consider before the public hearing should take place.

“We’re having to do substantial improvements (to the courthouse) and we’re going to take the opportunity above and beyond what the insurance companies will be paying for,” he said.

Thompson said the county has capital from the previous year’s budget that can go toward renovations to the courthouse.

“It leaves us with approximately $900,050 that we can use for capital expenditures. The previous savings were going to go to the roof, the clock tower and improvements on the cupola, but now that those things are 100 percent going to be covered by insurance, we’re going to be using those funds to expand and improve on what the insurance company is paying for, and rework where some of the offices are located within the courthouse,” he said.

These changes are also expected to improve the courthouse’s security.

Thompson said that in addition to the courthouse, the Annex Building will also be renovated to allow the county to utilize space inside previously not been used. Getting the courthouse and Annex Building back in working order will allow displaced county employees to return to their previous offices.

“We’ll be saving approximately $100,000 a year in rent that is currently being paid out of taxpayers’ pockets,” Thompson said. “We’re going to augment all the things that are coming in from insurance, and when we’re done with this, our goal is to have a project we can be proud of.”

A new date in which to hold a public hearing on the county budget amendment has not yet been scheduled.

Board Chair Bill Patten took the opportunity at the meeting to clarify confusion about who will be paying for the courthouse repairs.

“On Facebook, there’s been … a lot of negative comments from people saying that the money that was given from corporations and individuals to help rebuild downtown was being used by the courthouse, and that there won’t be any money left over to be used for these buildings, and that’s untrue,” Patten said. “I don’t know where the rumor got started. That’s why the supervisors have been trying very hard over the years to have excellent insurance. Our insurance is going to pay for this stuff; we’re not going to use any of the money that was going to be brought forth for downtown (to repair the courthouse).”

The county has a $10,000 deductible for the repairs, which is within its budget.

The next Marshall County Board of Supervisors meeting is set for 9 a.m. Oct. 2 on the second floor of the Great Western Bank Building, 11 N. First Ave.

———-

Contact Sara Jordan-Heintz at

641-753-6611 or sjordan@timesrepublican.com