Courthouse annex repairs to begin within two weeks
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• Approved $100,000 budget amendment for construction supplies in Precinct 4;
• Approved $30,000 budget amendment for indigent representation in the 377th District Court;
• Approved rate increase and plan amendments for county insurance program.
Facade repairs to the Victoria County Bridge Street Annex could be complete by the end of the year.
Victoria County Commissioners approved a $181,890 contract Monday with Robert Atkins Masonry Inc.
Although County Judge Don Pozzi said the bill is "certainly much more than we originally expected, it's not as much as it could have been."
Commissioners approved a $13,230 payment to Walter Moore for engineering and consulting services and granted a bid exemption for the repairs on the grounds that the damage was unforseeable.
Brick started falling about four months ago.
The project's architect, Rawley McCoy, addressed the court Monday, saying the angles on the building, made with ungalvanized steel in the 1970s, had rusted and put stress on the brick and mortar.
"It was not built like it was on the original plan - which had concrete" under the brick, McCoy said. "That brick was literally hung in mid-air with high-strength mortar."
McCoy said the plan is to build that portion of wall straight and do away with the angles, which could become an issue again.
"This problem began the day the building was built," McCoy said. "If they had used galvanized angles ... it's just one of those things in building that you have to be cognizant of."
Pozzi estimated the project's total cost will be about $225,000 once they receive the architect and brick invoices. Brick is estimated to cost $10,000.
"It's been a hardship for people to enter and get into the building while we've tried to find this brick," McCoy said.
He said he wants the work to begin at the Bridge Street entrances to make it easier for people entering and exiting the annex.
Finding a perfect match has been the biggest wait in this project, McCoy said.
County Tax-Assessor Collector Rena Scherer said the repairs have been an inconvenience for her customers.
Since the parking spaces along Bridge Street have been blocked, some patrons have trouble parking their cars, especially on Mondays when it's a jury day, Scherer said.
"It's been a little bit of an inconvenience for some customers," she said. "They've all been gracious about it. They know it'll be taken care of."