AUBURN — In an effort to approve planning for the next five years, the DeKalb County Commissioners discussed a few larger projects on the docket for 2022-2027.

County Auditor Jan Bauman brought the topic forth asking commissioners to tie down some dates for projects which might need completion.

“This is something I feel we need to peg down a little firmer,” she said. “Looking toward the future, council is wanting a solid look at the future, they want a big picture of all of the departments and their wants and needs.”

Projects discussed Monday morning included repair or replacement of the aging elevator at the DeKalb County Courthouse, a generator for the courthouse and the possibility of renovation work to the development services building or the possibility of building an entire new office structure.

These projects are on top of a larger budget hit as the commissioners continue to discuss the construction of a new jail.

Due to the age of the elevator in the courthouse, there is a possibility repairs are going to have to be made. The elevator project was tentatively scheduled for 2024 with a price range of $100,000 to $500,000.

“This is a big range, but we don’t know what the repairs will be or what it will cost at that point,” said Commissioner Todd Sanderson.

The second project discussed was the potential purchase of a generator to operate the DeKalb County Courthouse in case of a power outage or extended emergency.

“This is another can that has been kicked down the road and kicked down the road,” said Commission President William Hartman.

A proposal was presented in 2018 with a quote of $143,643 from Votaw Electric in Fort Wayne for a standby three-phase generator. At that point the project wasn’t acted on.

The courthouse is one of the only county buildings which doesn’t have a backup generator.

The generator project was scheduled for 2023 with a cost range of $200,000 to $275,000.

The final project was the potential work on the developmental service building, which is currently up in the air, because of potential other projects. That project was also budgeted for 2023 with a base cost of $200,000.

The DeKalb County Council is currently working on the 2022 county budget and will host two days of budget hearings Sept. 7-8 in the Commissioners Courtroom. The first reading of the budget adoption will be Sept. 13.

Monday’s meeting was closed with discussion on C.R. 55 which received damage with last week’s heavy rains. A portion of the eastbound side washed out, because of the amount of water coming over and under the road. The washout occurred in between S.R. 4 and C.R. 800S.

DeKalb County Highway Superintendent Ben Parker said there is a tremendous amount of water that drains out of that watershed.

Parker said there are a lot of unknowns when it comes to fixing the drainage problem in that area because no one is sure how many drains feed into that one area. Before coming up with a plan of attack for fixing the problem, crews will have to dig on the west side of the road to attempt to locate any drains.

The road is currently closed and will remain closed while repairs can be made, which could take up to a week depending on the fix.

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