Quorum Court discusses mold found in the courthouse during recent inspection

The Drew County Quorum Court discussed the findings of a recent inspection at the court house Monday night during it’s regular monthly meeting.

According to Drew County Judge Robert Akin, Morris and Associates performed the inspection and found mold in areas of the courthouse.

Akin told the court that the invoice for the inspection totaled $3,950, and only includes the inspection. The county will still be responsible for costs associated with the mold removal.

He said the basement was in better shape than some of the other areas in the courthouse which  included a storage area on the ground floor.

The county will have to hire a company to come in and clean the mold from the building.

“They (Morris and Associates) will help us find a company certified to remove the mold and clean the affected areas,” Akin said.

He also said county employees would begin the next day with the clean up of the mold “where it’s the worse” by using Clorox bleach. However, Akin acknowledged it’s not going to be enough to rid the building of the problem.

Justice of the Peace Tommy Gray asked if Akin had any idea of how much it’s going to cost.

Akin said he didn’t know how much, but he thought it would be expensive.

County Attorney Cliff Gibson said the county would have to clean the mold whether they could afford it or not.

“It’s a matter of safety but also federal regulations require it to be cleaned,” Gibson told the court. “We’re going to have to find the money where ever it needs to be found. (Cleaning the mold) has to be done.”

The Quorum Court will meet again with Morris and Associates soon to discuss how to best rid the courthouse of the mold. However no date for that meeting was announced Monday night.

The court also discussed the land fill office.

Akin asked the court for $26,000 in April to build an office at the landfill because the Arkansas Department of Environmental Quality (ADEQ) inspector told Akin he did not want to see the trailer they’ve been using for an office to still be there when he comes back for his next inspection.

The measure was tabled and revisited Monday night.

Akin wanted to take a wooden storage building and convert it into an office for the landfill. However, Monday night’s discussion steered toward the county using a metal building instead of wood because it would last longer.

Frank Appleberry estimated that a metal building would cost the county between $10,000 and $12,000 more than a wooden building but it would last longer.

The discussion also moved in the direction of getting scales for the landfill because people are driving from neighboring counties to dump things because they don’t have to pay as much since Drew County doesn’t have scales.

In the end, the measure was tabled for further discussion.

The county also voted to approve an agreement between it and the volunteer fire departments, which is required for the fire departments to receive money from a fee that’s collected through the insurance industry. The county operates as a flow through agency for these departments, meaning the county gets the money and turns it over to the departments. While the county cannot give money away, it can enter into service agreement with an organization.

Gibson said the agreement is similar to the agreement approved last month with the Drew County Historical Society.

The court also approved a contract with Cromwell and Associates. The firm will serves as architects for the new surgery center, the geriatric psychiatric unit, the power plant and the renovations of the unfinished portion,  collectively known as Phase II in the modernization project for the hospital.

The hospital board of directors had already approved the contract, but the Quorum Court had to approve it as well.

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