The go-ahead was given by Barbour County Commissioners to officially start an inquiry into purchasing property in Eufaula to relocate court and county services.
Commissioners gave County Attorney Walter Calton the authorization to begin exploring an option to purchase property during a special called meeting that was held in Eufaula on Monday, Aug. 5.
An affirmative vote was recorded from all the commissioners during a roll call vote called for by Commission Chairman Earl Gilmore during the meeting to clarify each commissioner’s vote. Commissioners met for more than 30 minutes in an executive session to discuss the issue of purchasing property before coming out to record a vote.
The subject of relocating court and county offices to another location in Eufaula has been a strained one in the Commission for several years and most recently during meetings as Commissioner Frank Straughn brought details to the commission of a local building that would be a good fit for the county.
The proposed building that commissioners will inquire about is an office park located on East Barbour Street in Eufaula that has hosed several different types of businesses.
The cost of maintenance for the current Eufaula Courthouse was touched upon by Commissioner Stan Adams as the commission discussed the current courthouse building. “Since Oct. 1, 2015, up to July 31 of this year, right here in just repairs we have spent somewhere around $350,000 plus, and that’s not everything.” Adams said. “That’s a lot of money for repairs…it shocked my shoes off to see that.
“That does not even count a blower that needs fixing right now. In the past four years $350,000 is a lot of money for repairs and that’s just this courthouse,” Adams noted.
“We have three air conditioners out right now that needs repairs,” Gilmore added regarding the current Eufaula Courthouse building. “Just wait until you have to rebuild, it’s not going to $350,000, it will be $3 million and you will still have an old building.”
County Administrator Raye Ann Calton reported that the figures she emailed to the commissioners on expenses for the Eufaula Courthouse did not include $84,000 that was spent on a cooling tower in fiscal year 2017 because it was paid for out of the Capital Improvement account and not the General Fund.