MT. VERNON — Jefferson County Board Chairman Robert White has responded to a letter prepared by three officeholders and distributed to Jefferson County Board members.
Portions of the letter were published in Tuesday's newspaper, and White indicated that no money has been spent on the project nor have any funds been set aside for courthouse renovations.
He also stated in his response that county officials plan to recall most, if not all employees recently laid off.
"We have been working on this project for the past 18 months and have slowed down at times to address changing financial conditions. Due to information being presented in the wrong context, there are a lot of legitimate concerns based on wrong information," White begins. "We have not spent any money on this project. The $77,000 walk away fee is for any work done by a general contractor that is not M360. To date, that is not the case. As to the vote of obligating funds for phase 1 or 2, this has not occurred either."
White continued, "My comment during the vote to proceed towards phase 1 was that we need to take this to the people of Jefferson County for input? Why? The only available revenue to address any issues in the courthouse is the excess funds in the public safety sales tax account. The reason there are extra funds in this account was due to the former chairman pushing through a vote to refinance the original bonds for an additional 10 years at an additional cost of $5 million. While having a current balance of $1.8 million in this account is a great position, it is evident the amount needed to pay those bonds exceeds the annual payment of $940,000 per year."
White said the courthouse is in "dire need of attention now" that will be fully outlined during the 3 p.m. Aug. 12 public input meeting scheduled at the Rolland W. Lewis Community Building.