County allows use of building — with a catch


A request by the County Extension Office to use an old gymnasium owned by the county was approved, but not without some concern about the county’s liability for repairs and safety.

The Madison County Commissioners’ Court last week gave a tentative OK at its last meeting of 2017.

Commissioner Thomas Collard had reservations about allow use of the facility at first, citing safety reasons.

“We have a proposal from a company to replace the electrical, but what about the insulation and the plumbing in the old gym?” he asked. “Doesn’t that need to be replaced, too?”

Collard said that the gym needed to be brought up to code before allowing the gym’s use, and while he thought it was a great idea, he wanted to know how much it would cost to fix everything at the facility.

County Judge C.E. McDaniel said that would be addressed in the next agenda item; however, the commission decided to discuss and approve repairs before approving use of the gym, which was done without discussion.

Commissioner Carl Cannon said that the Extension Office plans to do the repairs with donated funds.

County Auditor Toni Joyner asked about liability and supervision, and who would foot the bill for the events; Extension Office rep Leslie Lazenby said volunteers will do the work and supervise events.

However, Joyner said there are many more questions that need to be answered, such as who can use the facility, how events are approved and others.

Lazenby pointed out that there already are events at the building, and that using the gym would be a part of that. She also said the Extension office takes out supplemental insurance for activities through 4-H, and attendees sign waivers to participate.

McDaniel pointed out there has been activities there for years, with children there every week, and that the county shouldn’t act like this is something new.

“We’re acting like this is something we’ve never done before,” he said.

Commissioner Ricky Driskell said he wants to see all the legal stuff handled because it is a new addition to what’s being done now, also citing safety reasons.

In other business, the county:

•approved all bids for road materials for county road work for the coming calendar year;

•approved the asset forfeiture reports for the county law enforcement agencies;

•approved a donation from the county’s Hotel/Motel fund for advertising for a basketball tournament and recruitment expo, the Tour de Madisonville Bicycle Ride & Festival and the Lone Star Coon Hunt, totalling $6,000;

•accepted a grant of $19,372 from the Texas Indigent Defense Commission; and

•approved invoices for heating repair and catering for the county Christmas party.