Luzerne County Council to determine which capital projects are funded

By Jennifer Learn-Andes - [email protected]
Luzerne County Council is set to decide next week if $650,000 will be earmarked to restore, repair and conserve first-floor county courthouse walls, ceilings and floors not addressed in the recently completed $2.13 million rotunda and south lobby restoration. - File photo

After three months on the back burner, Luzerne County Council members are set to decide which capital projects will be funded.

County Manager C. David Pedri submitted his proposed plan in May, requesting $1.3 million for parking lot repairs, additional courthouse restoration and an emergency reserve. This option would leave $664,246 in the dwindling capital fund.

The manager’s proposal automatically takes effect Sept. 1 unless council exercises its authority to remove or add projects before then. A council vote is scheduled Tuesday.

As of Friday afternoon, council Chairman Tim McGinley was the only member to propose changes.

McGinley’s suggested amendments, according to the agenda:

• Parking lot improvements

The administration sought $400,000 to repair and resurface lots at seven county-owned buildings, including Penn Place, the Courthouse Annex, West Side Annex and Hanover Township Annex.

McGinley proposes cutting this allocation to $300,000.

• Vehicle fleet

A $100,000 earmark still remains from a previous capital plan to cover vehicle emergencies, and McGinley wants to cut it in half.

• Emergency fund

The manager requested $100,000 to cover unforeseen repairs at county-owned buildings. McGinley’s amendment would increase this pot to $150,000.

In all, McGinley’s proposed changes would reduce the allocation a net $100,000, leaving $764,246 for future projects.

It’s unclear if any other council members will propose amendments to fund two other projects discussed after Pedri presented his report: security cameras and enhanced exterior lighting.

The need for prison sidewalk repairs also surfaced since May, but McGinley said he discovered that work already was included and funded in a previous capital plan. The administration obtained four quotes for the sidewalk repairs and estimated the work would cost $13,700 to $20,450 to cover the most damaged sections.

The cameras would cost approximately $287,243 and monitor and record people in and around several county buildings. Pedri told council the sheriff is working with a consultant to scale back that proposed project.

More lighting, primarily for the courthouse and annex parking areas, was estimated at $449,500 to $714,500, although the administration also said other options could be explored to reduce the expense. Pedri has emphasized the lighting idea stemmed from a council member’s concern that the rear courthouse lot was too dark.

In addition to the parking lot repairs, Pedri has pushed to continue the next $650,000 phase of courthouse restoration to restore, repair and conserve first-floor walls, ceilings and floors not addressed in the recently completed $2.13 million rotunda and south lobby restoration.

A representative of Connecticut-based John Canning Co., which completed the rotunda/south lobby project, told council in March that restoration was still warranted in other courthouse foyers and hallways on all three floors. The first floor contains the most artwork, including extensive mosaic sections that are largely intact but dirty and murals that were inaccurately touched up, covering the original intent.

Luzerne County Council is set to decide next week if $650,000 will be earmarked to restore, repair and conserve first-floor county courthouse walls, ceilings and floors not addressed in the recently completed $2.13 million rotunda and south lobby restoration.
https://www.timesleader.com/wp-content/uploads/2018/08/web1_TTL022318Courthouse1.jpgLuzerne County Council is set to decide next week if $650,000 will be earmarked to restore, repair and conserve first-floor county courthouse walls, ceilings and floors not addressed in the recently completed $2.13 million rotunda and south lobby restoration. File photo

By Jennifer Learn-Andes

[email protected]

Reach Jennifer Learn-Andes at 570-991-6388 or on Twitter @TLJenLearnAndes.

Reach Jennifer Learn-Andes at 570-991-6388 or on Twitter @TLJenLearnAndes.