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Supervisors looking for solutions

By By Steve Gillespie / staff writer
July 12, 2004
Lauderdale County District 4 Supervisor Joe Norwood said supervisors are looking for more room for county offices.
Lauderdale County District 3 Supervisor Craig Hitt said the county plans to invite architectural firms to bid on doing an efficiency study to see how the county could better utilize the space it has.
Last year the county borrowed $415,000 to buy the BellSouth building on the corner of 14th Street and 26th Avenue.
The county's Homeland Security operation, overseen by Clarence Butler, is relocating to that building from the Lauderdale County Emergency Management building on 23rd Avenue, which also houses Butler's office as coordinator of the Lauderdale County Volunteer Fire Department.
Butler said meeting space was needed for emergency management meetings, fire chief's meetings, and for classes. He also said the move would allow more space for an emergency communications room, where various department heads and officials can work together to coordinate responses to emergency situations.
In Tax Collector Stanley Shannon's office and Tax Assessor Jimmy Slay's office, having services recently available on the Internet has decreased the number of people who have to physically come into their offices, but they are still cramped.
Slay said he hopes to add more information on property assessments to his office's Internet site.
Shannon said taking advantage of being able to pay taxes online saves people time.
There are several possibilities Lauderdale County supervisors could consider to alleviate the space problem:
A new building: District 4 Supervisor and board president Joe Norwood said he would like to see the county build one, calling anything short of that a temporary solution to a growing problem.
Renovate part of the 11-story Raymond P. Davis Courthouse Annex: Three floors are being used for storage for various county departments now, but they could be converted into office space. The Lauderdale County Sheriff's Department had plans drawn up two years ago to
renovate the seventh floor of the building for its needs. It is
estimated the cost would be more than $100,000.
Renovate existing space: Lauderdale County Tax Collector Stanley Shannon said his office has plans for reorganizing that would cost about $10,000-$12,000.
remodeling," Shannon said. "But we're on hold because of the money it would take to do that. It was put on hold last year."