by Mark Ross
Members of the Hope Lions Club were updated on several ongoing projects from Hempstead County Judge, Jerry Crane on Monday. After asking everyone to remember the Haskell Morse Family, Judge Crane talked about some of the tasks he has dealt with, as well as some future projects he would like to see come to fruition.
The first order of business after taking office at the beginning of the year was dealing with the tornado in the South part of the County, the flooding in the Patmos Road area, and then more flooding this past summer in the Northern part of the County. He talked about checking the roads and bridges for damage and keeping track of what all needed repairs, saying, “When I was Sheriff, I was looking for pot smokers. Now, I’m looking for potholes.” Crane stated that the County won’t be receiving any FEMA assistance from these events, but will probably receive monies from the State.
Judge Crane also spoke on all the revitalization happening downtown, the condition of the downtown buildings and renovations on the new courthouse. The original plans were to replace most of the lighting, tile and knock out several walls, with costs coming in at around 3.2 million dollars. After meeting with contractors, most of those plans are being changed to cut costs. A Lion member asked Crane what his wishful budget amount for the courthouse was, and he responded, saying it would be nice if they could stay close to 1.4 million. Crane advised that one of the air-condition units recently backed up and caused major damage to walls and ceiling, but that insurance will be covering it. He said he is looking forward to a busy downtown once the Courthouse moves.
Crane touched on the overlay projects of 23rd and 28th streets and discussed several things going on at the County Shop. They have added a full-time mechanic and a welder and have also started a safety program for the county. A tracker to help control fuel and oil cost has been placed on several of the county vehicles and will be added to existing vehicles. These trackers are capable of showing statistics to prevent abuse on the vehicles. Adding another crew to the road department is high on his wish list and he spoke briefly about the possibility of a Behavioral Unit for juveniles at the former migrant center, but the biggest obstacle for the unit is budgeting.
He concluded by saying he puts trust in God and in the community, that he is a servant of the county & works for the people of Hempstead County. “IN GOD WE TRUST & SERVE THE PEOPLE OF Hempstead County,” Crane said.