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County government

Supervisors might consider litigation against city

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Carroll County leaders are set to privately discuss possible litigation at their Monday morning meeting, according to the meeting’s agenda.

The agenda does not provide any details about that litigation, but county Supervisor Neil Bock has said that a closed-session talk at the meeting will focus on the city of Carroll’s failure to relinquish four parking spots on North Main Street that the county had hoped to eliminate as part of its jail project.

Vehicles in those parking spots — which in the current jail design would sit between the vehicle entry and exit of the jail — have the potential to obscure the view of drivers exiting the jail, according to a traffic review commissioned by the city this year.

City and county leaders had tentatively agreed in August that the city would allow those parking spaces to be eliminated and the county would modify its jail plan to recess the vehicle entrance and exit into the building.

Moving the entrance and exit away from the sidewalk is expected to alleviate potential traffic congestion, but it would cost the county an additional $50,000, according to Badding Construction, which has begun excavation work for the project just west of the county courthouse.

The city reneged on the arrangement this week when its city council deadlocked on whether to remove the parking. The idea had passed two previous council votes but failed 3-3 on what was supposed to be the final vote Monday.

Council members Misty Boes, Clay Haley and Carolyn Siemann said they ultimately voted against the measure because residents were concerned about losing more parking in the downtown business district.

County leaders have declined to comment publicly about the situation.

Even though the city backed out of the parking agreement, the county is apparently still required to recess the doors because it was a condition of the building permit the city issued for the project.

That permit was issued to Badding Construction on Sept. 16 and included three conditions: The vehicle entrance and exit on Main Street must be recessed; major modifications to the plans related to the Main Street right of way must be reviewed by the city; and the building plans would be modified if the council didn’t approve removing the parking spots.

It’s unclear whether the county’s potential court litigation would target the building permit’s conditions.

The supervisors meet at 9 a.m. Monday in the county courthouse. The closed-session discussion is scheduled for the beginning of that meeting. Any official action they take on the issue must be done publicly in open session.

The city council’s reversal on the parking agreement comes amid growing discontent over the jail project, which is expected to cost millions of dollars more than initial estimates. Some residents had already opposed it because of its downtown location, but county leaders have forged ahead with their plans because they say the location will lessen ongoing operational costs.

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