Knox County Board approves courthouse maintenance, Smart911

The Knox County Board last night approved taking money from the landfill fund to help pay for more than $1 million in courthouse repairs and maintenance.

In describing the condition of the Knox County Courthouse, board member Greg “Chops” Bacon called parts of the building “atrocious.”

Chops said the next major undertaking will be work on the fire escape, a project that could run anywhere from $120,000 to as much as $500,000 depending on whether it can be repaired or has to be replaced

“After the fire escape, our next plan of attack is the electrical, the plumbing and the masonry,” Chops said. “And it goes on and looks at the roof, stuff like that, flashing gutters.”

He said electrical work, which would need to be done within the next five years, will cost about $675,000, plumbing would be another $130,000 and work to the building’s steps and masonry would run about $75,000.

He further said about $4.5 million has been spent on courthouse upkeep in the past six to seven years — work that was badly needed because of the poor shape the structure was in when the County Building Committee was formed.

The Board unanimously approved taking an additional $1 in tipping fees from the landfill fund to pay for future maintenance and work that has already been completed.

Also approved was spending $20,000 in funds collected through the county’s quarter-percent sales tax to install a Smart911 system.

The new system will allow people to text and send pictures to 911 dispatchers once it goes live.

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