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Davison Co. commissioners: Courthouse fourth floor serves purpose

The fourth floor of the Davison County Courthouse in Mitchell. (The Daily Republic)

The Davison County commissioners say the way the fourth floor of the courthouse building is being used -- mostly for storage -- is good enough for now.

During the citizens' input portion of their regular meeting Tuesday, the commissioners took issue with an editorial published May 22 in The Daily Republic contending the county did not have a plan for the fourth floor of the courthouse nearly 20 years after removing the jail.

Commission Chairman John Claggett said citizens stopped him and asked about the fourth floor issue and he has responded that it's "nothing."

"I guess it took me by surprise," he said.

Maintenance Supervisor Mark Ruml took an approximate inventory of the fourth floor, which is about 5,000 square feet and about 3,500 square feet is useable. The county says about 2,890 square feet, is used for jury deliberations, client-attorney meeting space and storage for the county treasurer, register of deeds and auditor.

Until a few weeks ago, the county's law library was stored on the floor until the hard copies of the library were surplused by the commission. The library is being moved to a computer terminal at the county's Public Safety Center.

Claggett said the state's Unified Judicial System could use more space but the commission is hesitant to give that space away when the county needs storage.

"Right now, we need to be able fulfill the basic needs for our government and then go from there," he said.

For now, there won't be offices on the fourth floor, mainly because the level has no air conditioning and is not easily accessible for those with disabilities.

"The big problem up there is no air," commissioner Denny Kiner said. "We were never worried about it as long as those books were up there. Air conditioning will cost a fortune."

Claggett said there's not a connection between the fourth floor and the cost of the county's north offices, which now houses the county's nurses, welfare and veterans services offices and soon will include the commission's meeting space, which likely won't be done until July. The county paid $575,000 for the building and paid $265,000 for renovations to the former Central Electric building at 1420 N. Main St. in Mitchell.

"That space up there will not be used for the public side," Claggett said of the fourth floor. "The idea of the Central Electric space is to have it be more accessible, and that building is."

Other business:

During the county's regular meeting Tuesday, the commissioners:

• Approved malt beverage license renewals for the Kongo Klub, of Mitchell, and Mike's Corner, of Ethan.

• Heard a quarterly report from county Civil Deputy Kathye Fouberg, who said the county served papers to 496 individuals in the first three months of 2014 and collected $11,759.61 in civil fees, in addition to $8,186 in mobile home collection income for a total of $19,946.39 in the first quarter.

• Approved the hire of Randy Gilbert as a full-time corrections officer at the Davison County jail for $13.90 per hour, effective May 24.

• Approved a raise for current corrections officer Kyle McLaughlin to $14.41 per hour following a six-month probationary period.

• Approved the purchase of grinder bits for the county highway department at a cost of $11,325; a total of 1,500 bits will be purchased, which Superintendent Rusty Weinberg said will last the county another year.