Commissioners hire appraisers for county owned buildings for jail project

Apr. 17—ANDERSON — The Madison County commissioners have hired two appraisers for existing county owned property as a means of lowering interest payments on the new jail.

The commissioners on Tuesday hired Beam, Longest & Neff and Traynor & Associates to do appraisals of the Madison County Government Center, Community Corrections Complex and the existing jail.

The appraisals will cost $25,000 each and are expected to be completed within 30 days.

Attorney Adam Steuerwald with the Indianapolis law firm of Barnes & Thornburg said last week that the building corporation will purchase from the county for a temporary period of time the Madison County Government Center, Work Release Center and existing jail.

He said the county will pay the building corporation up to $30 million for the three facilities, and once the new jail is completed, ownership will revert back to Madison County.

At the commissioners' meeting, it was indicated the arrangement would save the county on interest payments on the bonds.

The cost of the new jail to house up to 550 inmates has been estimated at $110.5 million.

In other business, the Commissioners conducted the annual public hearing on establishing the property tax rate for the cumulative bridge fund.

County Engineer Jessica Bastin said the current rate is 6.5 cents and the maximum allowed is 10 cents.

She said the current tax generates $3.1 million and each half-cent on the property tax rate raised an estimated $190,000.

Bastin said Madison County has 220 bridges and the estimated cost to repair and replace the current structures is $17.6 million.

The county has 198 small structures between 5 and 20 feet, she said, and 75% of those need maintenance work over the next decade.

Commissioner John Richwine said the cumulative bridge fund tax rate has been advertised at the maximum amount of 10 cents per $100 of assessed value.

The Commissioners have been seeking to raise the property tax rate in increments on an annual basis, he said.

The Commissioners voted to approve changes in the county's zoning ordinance pertaining to the placement of shipping containers.

Larry Strange, executive director of the Planning Department, said the recommendation included allowing property owners with shipping containers 120 days to come into compliance.

The containers have to be placed on properties containing four acres or more, but the Planning Department will work with property owners with containers already in place.

The change states the shipping containers have to be placed on a permanent surface of concrete or piers.

Follow Ken de la Bastide on Twitter @KendelaBastide, or call 765-640-4863.