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County Records Commission tasked with doling out storage space

Washington County Mayor Dan Eldridge asked members of the Public Records Commission to begin work on determining how storage space in the former jail at the downtown Jonesborough courthouse will be divided.
“Actions need to be taken sooner rather than later,” Eldridge said during the June 2 meeting.
A resolution approved during the county commission’s May 31 meeting reallocates the mayor’s offices to the courthouse from the Main Street building that is now designated as the location of the Washington County Records Management and Archives Department.
In addition, the resolution states, “The remainder of the old jail annex is designated as countywide document storage available to all county offices, but under the space allocation decisions of the Public Records Commission.”
Eldridge said the county will have only 60 days to move all of the material from the Downtown Centre where it currently is being stored after the Johnson City Development Authority gives final approval to purchase the building and lease it out to Northeast State Community College.
“It’s my understanding the JCDA has its loan request out for approval now,” he said, pointing to the potential urgency of the situation. “You need to evaluate the space (in the jail annex) at your earliest opportunity to begin assigning room to the office holders.”
A portion of the jail has already been designated for Election Commission records, which had to be moved when the Property Assessor’s office took over the Election Commission’s original space on the bottom floor of the courthouse.
Commission member John Kiener made a motion to authorize the mayor to begin discussions with other office holders so records from the third floor can begin being moved to the jail annex. The motion was approved.
A structural analysis of the jail and the office building will be conducted to determine how best to distribute the records.
Members of the Records Commission expressed appreciation to the mayor for offering his office as a long-awaited site to make the archive a reality, and offered their regrets about the decisions that will require his offices to be separated throughout the courthouse.
“I have not had one complaint from my staff,” said Eldridge, who expressed his own concerns about employees working late in the offices located on the third-floor attic of the building. “We’ll make it work; the important thing is the archive.”
The following fees to support the ongoing operation of the archive will become effective July 1: Zoning Department – $5 fee for all building permit application, rezoning requests, variance applications and stormwater permits; County Clerk – $5 fee for all marriage license applications, beer permit applications, notary public applications, vehicle titles, replacement vehicle titles and business license applications; Courts of General Sessions, Circuit, Probate and Chancery – $5 fee for all public records filed with the clerks of court for the purpose of initiating a legal proceeding; and Highway Department – $5 fee for all driveway permits and road-cutting applications.
The fees will be kept in a separate account restricted for archive use. Records Commission members plan to tour the jail annex on Thursday, July 7, at 4 p.m., prior to the next monthly meeting.