Corsicana Daily Sun, Corsicana, Texas

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June 24, 2013

County hears courthouse restoration numbers

Corsicana — The Navarro County Commissioners Court could vote on July 8 on its intent to issue Certificates of Obligation to pay for its share of the proposed restoration of the Navarro County Courthouse.

Commissioners and project architect Karaleigh Nunn reviewed preliminary costs for the restoration of the courthouse based on the lowest of three bidders on the work and other costs associated with the project.

According to preliminary figures provided by Nunn at a workshop Tuesday afternoon, the cost of the project — excluding the cost of an annex building the county will need going forward — comes in at $10,564,000.

The state is providing a grant of $4,440,000 — leaving the county responsible for $6,124,000, plus the cost of an annex building. Commissioners have discussed issuing a Certificate of Obligation to pay for its share of the costs.

That number includes moving in and out of the courthouse, renovations to the Navarro Centre (the proposed temporary home for the courthouse), a new phone system, asbestos abatement at the courthouse, and rent of approximately $190,000 a year at the mall. The county could be looking at three years of rental payments during the restoration.

County Judge H.M. Davenport Jr. said talks are taking place with the Corsicana Independent School District for the purchase of the CISD Administration building and adjacent brick building, but did not specify a firm purchase price for that building. A figure of $600,000 was discussed in the workshop, but Davenport said later that number was conjecture.

CISD Superintendent Dr. Diane Frost said if the buildings were sold, plans are in place for a relocation of offices.

“The CISD administration offices would move to the Lee Center,” Frost said Monday. “We have some tentative floor plans in progress for Lee, should relocation be necessary.”

Nunn said the CISD property could potentially house the county tax office, planning and development office, adult and juvenile probation offices, the county extension offices and possibly the veteran’s service office. Because of requirements from the Texas Historic Commission tied to the grant, space now taken up by several offices will no longer be available after the renovation.

The brick building would require a new roof, Nunn said, and the administration building would require the addition of more restrooms for drug testing by the probation department, and said the county might consider adding a “drive-through” for the tax office operations.

A committee comprised of Commissioner James Olsen, Davenport, Nunn, County Auditor Kathy Hollomon and Planning and Development Director Phil Seely will now go through and “score” the proposals submitted for the work, and are expected to make a final recommendation on the project on July 8.

The county’s financial advisor is also expected to have information required for the Certificate of Obligation issue ready for the July 8 meeting, and a vote by commissioners on their intent to proceed with the issue could take place on that date.

That action triggers a 30-day window for a citizen’s petition calling for a vote on the debt issue. If a petition with valid signatures from 5 percent of the registered voters in the county is submitted during the 30 day window, the county would have to get voter approval in a November election to issue the certificates.

The deadline to call for a November election is Aug. 26.

     —————

Bob Belcher may be reached by email at bbelcher@corsicanadailysun.com. Want to “Soundoff” on this story? Email:

soundoff@corsicanadailysun.com

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