MOUNT VERNON — Knox County Probate/Juvenile Court Judge James M. Ronk met with the commissioners Monday to ask for help regarding the Juvenile Probation building on Chestnut Street. According to Ronk, the building’s upper floor has serious problems with excessive heat in the summer months.
Ronk invited commissioners Allen Stockberger and Robert Wise to visit the building once the weather heats up, and walk into one of the rooms on the top floor at the west of the building.
“I don’t think any of the three of us would work there,” Ronk said.
Commissioner Teresa Bemiller was out of town and was not present at the meeting.
When Ronk inquired about the possibility of new windows or a cooling system to work in tandem with the hot water heating system installed a few years ago, the prospects weren’t good.
“I hate to say it, but the fact is, we were down $30,000 in sales tax income last month,” Wise said.
Stockberger added that a cooling system would be prohibitively expensive because there was no existing ductwork in the entire building for a cooling system.
Short-term applications of window unit or roof top air conditioning units were discussed. New blinds to replace the old and largely inoperable blinds currently in the top floor windows was also discussed, and providing blinds for the lower floors. Stockberger said fans might help circulate the air, too.
The commissioners assured Ronk they would figure out what short-term measures could be taken to improve the cooling situation. They will also look into the possibilities of getting a Community Development Block Grant or a Kno-Ho-Co weatherization grant to pay for some or all of the cost, because the building serves many low- to moderate-income students.
In other business:
•The commissioners approved pledging $39,000 toward the application for a 384-acre agricultural easement to be placed on the Mickley farm on Howard Danville Road. This amount will earn the application two more points in the state’s judgment process, thus increasing the chances of the property to be selected for the easement, which would restrict future usage of the land to agriculture.
•The commissioners had planned on opening bids Monday morning for a trio of projects, but received no takers. The proposed bids were for resurfacing an alley in Mount Liberty, and improving sidewalks and sewer systems in Howard. According to the commissioners, seven contractors, including five excavators and two paving companies, picked up bid packages, but not one submitted a bid. The commissioners’ next step will be to have grant coordinator Amy Shocken work with county engineer Jim Henry to see if there was a problem in the specs which may have discouraged the contractors.
•Roger Shooter met with the commissioners Monday in a closed session regarding labor negotiations.
•The commissioners announced that the Jefferson Township Trustees hired a private lawyer to formally appeal the decision made April 28 by a joint session of the Knox and Richland County Boards of Commissioners not to vacate an old section of Leedy Road known as Leedy Lane.