County Collector Mark Hensley met with commissioners during their regular meeting to discuss where tax record books can be moved. The books are being moved so the room they presently occupy can be renovated for other uses.
County offices are already competing for office and record storage space, and the removal of the old boiler-radiator heating system and the installation of new heating and air conditioning systems is further complicating things.
Don Jones, county maintenance supervisor, temporarily moved the maintenance office into a room on the second floor due to asbestos removal and HVAC work in the basement, but promised to vacate it soon.
Hensley said the tax record books can't permanently be removed from the courthouse. "They're too heavy to move too many times," he added.
Presiding Commissioner Martin Priggel said it probably damages the old tax books each time they are moved, as well.
Jones, who noted the books are exceptionally "big and bulky," said they could split them up into two or three rooms, but can't think of any one location in the courthouse where they all would fit and be accessible.
The idea for a portable building also didn't seem feasible. "Where would we put it?" Burger asked.
Jones suggested using two of the concrete bays at the Highway Department building and asked about the status of old Benton buildings.
A lot of the courthouse's storage space is filled with county records several offices are required to keep due to state statutes.
Commissioner Jamie Burger said, however, that county officials need to cooperate on "a massive clean up around here - clean up the stuff we can clean up."
County officials have already shredded about 8,000 pounds of old records, "things that we didn't have to have anymore," Burger said, "that, by statute, we were allowed to dispose of."
He said it was only a "small dent."