Commissioners OK courthouse project

Commissioners approved the start of work on two areas of the Washington County Courthouse Thursday, subject to a discussion with Judge Timothy Williams.

Tim Marty, director of facilities and grounds for the county, gained the approval to start a $8,850 project on the Probate/Juvenile Storage Room and a $7,425 project on a conference room.

The project will remodel the rooms, making one a complete storage room, most likely for records, with four sets of wall-to-wall shelving. The second room will serve as a second conference room, which will most likely be used for the oil and gas contractors that come into the courthouse.

Marty said Williams had two concerns over the project: if seven four-foot lights would be enough light in the storage room, and if the heating and air system could handle the additional strain of two rooms.

“I want to try what we have there,” Marty said of the heating and air system. “It’s existing…That unit is (already) handling the entire section.”

The two rooms will both be 405 square feet.

Marty said work on both rooms will take only about 60 days. Work is set to start in the next few days.

In other business, a concern was brought to the commissioners about ensuring veterans have adequate access for transportation to their doctor appointments.

Peter Prigge, a volunteer driver for the Veterans Affairs Clinic in Marietta, said he thought restrictions being placed on volunteer drivers, who help veterans get to much needed appointments, were too strict.

“I recently made a call requesting transport and it was denied,” he said.

Prigge said it was denied because the veteran in question had a 2:30 p.m. doctor’s appointment and transport for veterans stops with 1:30 p.m. appointments. This is because the distances traveled for appointments can be more than 100 miles one way.

Prigge said he went to the Veterans Service Organization (VSO), asked why the transport was denied and was told that the insurance carrier didn’t want cars out after dark and that drivers didn’t like to stay out all day.

“I thought the purpose of the VSO was to assist veterans,” Prigge said, adding that he was concerned many veterans might not be able to get to future appointments if they are scheduled later in the day.

“I’m a volunteer driver; that’s my day,” he said. “I have come home as late as 8 (p.m.).”

Prigge wasn’t sure if the insurance carrier really had a restriction and he requested that the county commissioners look into the insurance carried by the VSO to make sure that the restrictions are truly in place.

Commissioners recommended Prigge speak to the board of commissioners for the VSO to see if the policy could become a recommendation instead of a rigid policy.