Judicial Complex Woes

By Ben Wolf
Tuesday, November 14, 2006

Lowndes County officials call the current courthouse and buildings overcrowded and are now turning this nearby land into a new judicial complex, but contaminated soil and asbestos in this old service station are polluting the land and affecting the budget.

"There will possibly be some need to reassess some of the monies we had allocated for other projects," said Lowndes County Manager Joe Pritchard.

Citizens say reworking the budget is well worth it.

"I think the county is an entity, just like homeowners, so sometimes you get into remodeling and you find things you didn't expect, but it doesn't deter your initial goal," said Lowndes County resident Barbara Griffin.

"If they intend to put human beings in that locale, the asbestos has to go," added Tim McLeod.

County officials say the asbestos will be cleared in two to three weeks, while the soil will be removed in six to eight weeks.

"Lucky for Lowndes County as well as the citizens here, we'll be able to take care of those two things simultaneously so the asbestos will not stop work on the site," said Lowndes County spokesperson Paige Dukes.

Officials have their eyes on the final goal of no more overcrowding, and all of the county buildings in close proximity for convenience.

County officials say actual tax dollars won't be increased while budget priorities are reworked. This is due to state funding that is set aside to help governments deal with contamination.