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County declares emergency due to courthouse flooding

County employees were forced to sweep water into the courthouse elevator shaft during the last storm, said the director of maintenance. Commissioners declared an emergency Tuesday to expedite repairs.

Due to a faulty gate on a valve in the basement of the courthouse, the basement bathroom and some other areas flooded. Luckily there has been no damage, said Ken George, maintenance director.

“It doesn’t get out of the basement once we see it. We try to keep it corralled to certain areas,” he said. “It’s a mess.”

In order to quickly resolve the matter, Mya Toon, chief procurement officer, proposed a resolution declaring it an emergency, allowing the county to hire a contractor quickly and avoid a lengthy bidding process.

Commissioner Tony Mussare said he was in contact with a few plumbers.

“He said that it’s not a simple fix and there’s a lot of work,” said Mussare of a conversation with one.

When the pipe was installed, two sections were welded together and placed within concrete. The contractor must cut into the concrete and make two more cuts into the pipe in order to fix it.

The contract was awarded to Plumbing Masters for $11,500. Work is expected to begin this weekend.

In other business, the commissioners took the first steps in the levee project by approving a memorandum of understanding with the city outlining the project as part of the economic development assistance grant.

“It sets up the basis of the generic project and project management project description,” said Chelsea Blair, hazard reduction planner.

Further contracts will be broken up by each phase of the project, she said.

Coordination between the county and the city has saved about $4 million, lowering the levee project cost from $15 million to about $11 million.

“The key is in the details. When you go through those documents and find them, it’s very good,” said Commissioner Rick Mirabito.

All commissioners were present.

The next meeting is scheduled for 10 a.m. Thursday in the briefing room in Executive Plaza, 330 Pine St.

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