Supervisors considering enforcing county courthouse closing time
By STEPH TAHTINEN
Mt. Pleasant News
The Henry County Board of Supervisors is looking to enforce the courthouse’s closing time.
At Thursday morning’s department head meeting, Recorder Shirley Wandling brought up concerns over people who are not county employees being in the courthouse after it closes at 4:30 p.m.
She explained that she often works late, and that there are sometimes voices coming from upstairs on the third floor or people in the second floor conference room. As an example, she said that on Wednesday night she rode down in the elevator with a lawyer from another county and his client who were leaving at 5:45 p.m. They reportedly said they were the last people to leave the third floor.
Wandling and Henry County Treasurer Ana Lair expressed concern over the security of the courthouse and also the safety of any employees who are working after hours if there are unknown people present in the courthouse.
Supervisor Chairman Gary See said he would start writing a policy stating that non-employees needed to leave the building when it closes at 4:30 p.m.
There would be exceptions if a trial is still in session or if there is an open meeting being held in the courthouse after hours.
In other department head business, Interim Engineer Clarence Perry noted that he is not in favor of the trial project to sealcoat a portion of Jewel Avenue because he feels the county is setting itself up for high maintenance costs.
“As a county, we’re not set up to maintain sealcoat roads,” said Perry. “It looks to me, if we have maintenance, it’s going to have to be contracted.”
At the end of May, the supervisors approved a contract with adjoining landowners to chip and seal .77 miles of Jewel Avenue from N. Grand Avenue to the south side of the bridge. Initial construction costs — $62,347 to Shipley Construction — will be funded by the property owners.
Maintenance of the road is the sole responsibility of the county. If the maintenance costs for the chip and seal road exceed the average cost to maintain the road as a gravel road, the project will be considered a failure.
Perry noted that there also could be some controversy over what is considered a failure, and it could be alleged that the county did not perform proper maintenance.
County Assessor Gary Dustman noted that board of review has been completed and less than half of the 43 petitions went to a hearing.
The county is starting to work on re-appraisal and will probably start doing fieldwork next month. Properties in Mt. Pleasant will probably be visited first, Dustman noted.
Lair noted that the tax sale will be held on June 17. There were 436 parcels published in the delinquent taxes list, totaling a little over $300,000.
Lair noted that not all 436 parcels would be up for sale, as many will be paid before the sale.
She also noted that the state is planning to start renewing driver’s licenses every eight years instead of every five. This new procedure will be phased in over time.
Also, drivers will eventually have the option to renew their license online every other time it is up for renewal. For example, if you renew your license in person in 2020, you could renew online in 2028 but would have to renew it in person again in 2036.
In other business, the supervisors approved Henry County Emergency Management Agency County Declaration #13-01, which declares that Henry County is in a state of emergency due to ongoing floods and the damage that is being caused to public and personal property from high water.
Henry County was already declared a disaster area by the state, but the county declaration is necessary for the county to be eligible for funding from FEMA (Federal Emergency Management Agency).