The Ottumwa Courier

September 25, 2013

No room at the courthouse

By LAURA CARRELL Courier staff writer
Ottumwa Courier

---- — OTTUMWA — The overflowing Wapello County Courthouse will have its additional off-site office space for three more years.

The Wapello County Supervisors approved the lease agreement with M&L Enterprises Tuesday for the building at Fourth and Market streets that used to be a drive-through bank. The original lease was signed in November 2006, and the most recent two-year lease is about to expire.

With limited space in the courthouse itself, this space is used as offices for court services and the mental health advocate.

“This lease was just two years because we’ve thought about finding a place to build,” Supervisor Jerry Parker said. “We went back and asked the landlord to extend the lease.”

The new three-year lease has an elevator clause in it, but the fee won’t increase for the first year.

“If we find a place to build, it will take us that long [anyway],” Parker said.

He added that the landlord has done different renovation projects in the building to make it more usable for those offices.

In other business:

• Two bids were read for the rental of Wapello County Care Facility cropland. The higher bid of $94,530.62 from Jason Rogers was authorized. The supervisors then referred it to the Wapello County Auditor for correctness of bid.

• The canvass for the Indian Hills Community College board of trustees’ election held on Sept. 10 was completed. Robert Pitsch was elected for Director District #1, and Richard Sharp was elected for Director District #8.

• A public hearing was set for 1 p.m. Oct. 10 to vacate and close portions of 90th Street and 98th Avenue. The section of 90th Avenue is located at the off ramp of Highway 163, while 98th Avenue winds its way along a field, Parker explained.

“It says it’s a county road, but you wouldn’t want to go through it,” he said. “There’s a sign there, but it’s of no benefit to us.”

• Damage has been done to one of the courthouse’s retaining walls due to time and weather. Three companies have expressed interest in the repair job, and the supervisors referred the quotes on the work to the county auditor to review and report.