New clerk’s office appraises well over what county paid

-A A +A

Conway says leasing current courthouse location to state should service debt

By Ben Carlson

It appears the Anderson County Fiscal Court scored a solid deal when it voted late last year to purchase the Town & Country bank location on Main Street for $260,000.
An appraisal of the property, which Judge-Executive John Wayne Conway confirmed Monday will be used as a new office for the county clerk, came in at $380,000, a full $120,000 over what magistrates agreed to pay.
Conway said he was pleased with the results of the appraisal.
“I do, but we’ve had some people say it’s a good buy and some who disagree with it. That’s the way it is with everything,” Conway said, adding that the building has a replacement value of $900,000 and was assessed at $465,000.
“We came to a pretty good deal with the bank, and it keeps the clerk on Main Street. It was a win-win for everybody.”
The building also passed muster from a structural engineer who Conway said gave it a clean bill of health.
Conway said plans call for about $60,000 in renovations to transform the building into the clerk’s office, which handles myriad transactions including vehicle licensing, deeds and others.
Renovations will include removing a couple of walls and installing an escalator to move voting machines and other items in and out of the building’s basement, which will be used for storage.
Conway said he expects that the state’s Administrative Office of the Courts will take over the space vacated by the county clerk’s office — and pay the county handsomely for doing so.
Conway said he has yet to finalize the deal, but estimated that AOC will pay between $18,000 and $28,000 a year for that space, which could cover most if not all of the debt service on the clerk’s new office.
Equally important, he said, is that the new location will be more accessible.
“It will be more convenient,” he said. “There is a drive-thru window, ample parking and room for people to be waited on.”
The push to secure more office space for the clerk isn’t a new one. Former clerks Julian Birdwhistell and Harold Ritchey routinely approached the fiscal court about securing a larger office.
“I’ve been hearing about needing more space since the 1980s,” said Conway, who has served on the fiscal court during most of that time.
The bank, which has a second branch located on US 127 that currently serves only as a drive-thru location, will move its Main Street operations there next month, according to Linda Rumpke, the Bardstown-based bank’s president and CEO.
Rumpke said the downtown office is scheduled to close Feb. 14, and the Bypass location will reopen with full customer services Feb. 18.
Rumpke said the bank will retain an ATM location at it Main Street office even after the clerk’s office moves in. She said it will service customers’ cash needs as well as be able to accept deposits.
Conway said he’d like to see the new clerk’s office ready for business by April.
“I’m not sure we can get it done by then,” he said, adding that the county is set to close on the building early next month.
“If not, it will be sometime in June because of the May primaries.”