The Madison County government seeks to dial up some technical support — no, not from India.
Local leaders want an in-house engineer to handle a variety of jobs typically handled by private engineering firms.
Madison County commissioners discussed the possibility of an intergovernmental agreement with the county industrial authority Monday to fund such a position.
IDA executive director Marvin White said the authority incurred about $250,000 in engineering expenses last year, while BOC chairman Anthony Dove noted that the county accrued about $50,000 in engineering expenses.
Dove said an in-house engineer couldn’t handle all of the government’s technical work, noting that private firms would still have to be retained at times for helped on highly technical issues.
But he said hiring an engineer could help the county save money on a number of projects. Likewise, he has noted that the state is putting more engineering expenses on the shoulders of local governments these days.
Dove said the BOC doesn’t have funds to cover an engineer’s salary. However, the IDA does. The chairman said the county could pay the engineer for work on an as-needed basis.
Dove also said he plans to meet soon with local mayors to discuss the possibility of the engineer working with the cities, too.
Commissioner Stanley Thomas said he felt the county could get a good engineer at a reasonable cost, due to the economic downturn and the decline in demand for engineers.
“We could probably get a good one for a better price than a couple of years ago,” said Thomas.
The board agreed to have the county attorney work the IDA’s legal counsel on an intergovernmental agreement. The group will consider the matter again at a later meeting, but the issue is not on the board’s Monday night agenda.
Perhaps with an in-house engineer, that monstrous "bargain" water tank next to the Danielsville EMS station wouldn't have been thrown up so quickly without first considering the potential negative effect it might have on Madison County's public safety communications.