Franklin County Considers Upgrading Government Buildings

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By Matthew Searcy

FRANKLIN COUNTY -- Budget issues are leaving leaders in Franklin County with their hands tied. The county board wants to renovate space for a new annex. 

"We are using monies as we find them to do whatever improvements we can," said Franklin County Vice-Chairman Ken Hungate.  
 
He says it's time to upgrade the annex building. The work place for many of the county's office holders.
 
"It's crowded right to the limit," said Hungate. "It's an older building, a lot of repairs and a lot of maintenance. Heating and cooling costs are extremely high." 
 
The county board wants to move the offices to the recently acquired Campbell Building on the Benton square. The building would provide more space and could cut down on maintenance costs, but it's also in dire need of renovations.
 
"The county board is in the process of setting up a priority list, finding out what we can do, taking baby steps and spend the money as wisely as we can," explained Hungate.  
 
The building needs to be redone, inside and out. The county has already replaced the roof of the building, using extra money in the budget, but any additional renovations would require new revenue streams.
 
"We are in the process of applying for grants but they are hard to find right now because of the economy," said Hungate.  
 
Even if the funds are secured the county must also consider emergency funds for the courthouse.
 
"The biggest problem we might be looking at is two very old boilers," explained Hungate. "We are hoping to renovate both buildings." 
 
One member has suggested the county board donate their time and do the work themselves.
 
"We do not want to raise taxes," said Hungate. "Taxes are high enough in Franklin County already." 
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