Courthouse needs maintenance

Published 7:05 pm Tuesday, August 2, 2016

County officials agree the Lunenburg County Courthouse is in need of painting and basic maintenance.

The most obvious indication is the peeling paint on the columns in front of the old courthouse building.

And if that doesn’t do it for you, County Administrator Tracy Gee summed the problem up succinctly.

“We are facing serious deterioration,” she said.

What the Lunenburg County Board of Supervisors is arguing about is how much to spend on the project.

The county accepted bids on doing the maintenance and painting the main courts building, but only received one bid — for $46,000.

And that, some board members said, is too much.

Maybe, we say; and, then again, maybe not.

The truth is that doing the work will require specialized equipment.

Yes, our government should be good stewards of our tax dollars. It is what we expect and demand.

But we also understand that we have to pay for what we want and we have to pay more when the work is specialized. In certain situations, you just have to write the check.

During the discussion about the need for the work board members offered up suggestions for how the work could possibly get done cheaper. Supervisor Frank Bacon suggested hiring the painter who works for the Lunenburg County Public Schools — a move fellow Supervisor T. Wayne Hoover said could work off some of the money the system owes the county for paying $317,000 in debt services.

The school system announced it might have a deficit of $317,000 owed in debt services for construction of the middle school. The county ended up paying the debt, and the system will repay them.

Hoover also suggested looking at using inmate-labor from the jail.

But, again, the work calls for specialized equipment.

Are we saying not to rebid and to just go back and accept the one bid that was submitted? No. But we are saying don’t be shocked if the additional bids don’t come in much cheaper.

And we have to face reality that, sooner or later, something is going to have to be done — and sooner tends to be better.

Board member Alvester Edmonds may have said it best when he noted, “It’s going to end up, pay me now or you pay me later.”