February 03, 2023

Budget proposed to go up with elevator status

The elevator within the Union County Law Enforcement Center celebrates its 50th anniversary this year. County buildings and grounds director Shaun Lauer hopes it will see its 55th anniversary.

As part of his fiscal year 2024 budget proposal, Lauer discussed the needs of the elevator with the board of supervisors Monday. He proposed $10,000 a year for the next four years to fund refurbishing of the elevator. He also requested $10,000 for fiscal year 2024 for unscheduled elevator repairs. Supervisors did not take any action on his budget. The fiscal year budget begins July 1.

“We have had the last two weeks discussion with the elevator maintenance company,” he said. “How do we honestly justify? Is it something needs to be done. something to work through or is it an emergency?”

Lauer said the maintenance company has explained the challenges of having a 1973 model.

“Now it becomes very hard to maintain because accessibility of parts. The state says if you make improvements to a certain point, that is considered full modification. They came back, gave us a ballpark of $113,000 in improvements and upgrades,” he said.

Lauer isn’t sure when the elevator will not be worth using anymore.

“I don’t know how long it will take for it to actually fail. I’m looking for a four year plan for a full modification of the elevator and hopefully get it done in the fourth year of funds. I don’t have a lot answers. Can subcontractors do repairs? If needed, they come and give us an explanation to say there is something that could be upgraded in phases that would not violate the codes,” he said.

Lauer expects to continue discussions about the elevator Jan. 23

“Like everything else with an older facility, I’d like to plan ahead so we can do it. Plan it out and do it all at once. It’s hard to find a pressure valve. Getting that pressure valve that can make us work costs us almost as much in labor as the valve. That is what I fear,” he said.

Another concern he has without a plan is the state shuts off the elevator because of its age and condition.

“I don’t want it to become something that becomes an emergency. The price quadruples when you say it’s got to be done immediately,” he said.

Lauer also suggested $3,000 for concrete and a handrail on the west side of the courthouse. The Iowa court system has also recommended security enhancements for the courtroom.

John Van Nostrand

JOHN VAN NOSTRAND

An Iowa native, John's newspaper career has mostly been in small-town weeklies from the Rocky Mountains to the Mississippi River. He first stint in Creston was from 2002 to 2005.