Officials debate how to use state funds

Lisa Hammer

 State legislators might be able to “re-allocate” state money from Henry County roads to Henry County courthouse exterior repairs, but it doesn’t look promising.

 County board members Tom Steele and Jesse Crouch reported on recent contacts with state and federal lawmakers at Wednesday’s administration committee meeting. They sought either state money or federal stimulus money through the state.

 “We received some comments that there might be (money available), but nothing definite whatsoever,” said Steele.

 He added Rep. Don Moffitt mentioned the possibility of re-allocating $250,000 for Henry County roads. “That was a conversation we had, but we’ve seen no action on it at all,” he added.

 Crouch said he was hopeful that one or both of the state legislators will do something for the county courthouse, though he said it won’t be the full cost estimate of over $2 million.

 “We’ll take what we can get, if we can get it,” he said.

 Steele said they’d also talked to State Senator Mike Jacobs and Rep. Phil Hare’s staff, and had previously talked with Rep. Bill Foster.

 The committee resolved to work towards having a second sales tax referendum on the ballot next February and to use the sales tax proceeds to pay for a bond issue. The committee will likely recommend the county board take preliminary action at its Tuesday, Aug. 17, meeting, after hearing from the architect whether he thinks the construction estimate needs to be revised.

 If any grants do come through, they said, the sales tax could end sooner than the anticipated 10 years.