Courthouse elevator problems: 6 weeks and counting

LAUDERDALE COUNTY, Miss (WTOK) - For almost six weeks the elevator at Lauderdale County's courthouse has been out of service, and this is causing some concerns. In fact, the sound of footsteps going up and down stairs at the Lauderdale County Courthouse has become common.

"It's rough," says U.S. Postal Carrier David McCary. "It's been five or six weeks and it's three floors, but you've got to get the mail out."

Postal workers are not the only ones being affected; anyone who needs access the second and third floors is inconvenienced. That's because the only elevator in the building is not working, and it hasn't been for several weeks. Newscenter 11 found a sign on the 2nd floor of the building stating that the elevator has not been working for six weeks.

County Court Judges Lisa Howell and Veldore Young Graham both work on the building's third floor. Although they don't mind taking the extra steps, they say accommodations are being made for those who just cannot.

"This is a problem," says Howell, "because there are handicap individuals. We have people with disabilities. My understanding is that the deputies and the people at the elevator are helping those people. We're trying to make court accessible to everyone."

"We are moving court downstairs if we need to, and we've been given permission to go across the street if we need to," says Graham.

So far, the county has spent more than $30,000 trying to fix the problem.

"The board approved a couple of meetings ago to replace an outdated motor," says county administrator Chris Lafferty. "It is having some trouble tripping breakers, but anytime you put something brand new in something that's 80 years old things are going to happen."

To address overall concerns about the condition of the courthouse, supervisors are considering plans to temporarily move county services out of the building soon. Even if this happens Lafferty says the elevator still has to be fixed.

"Anytime you move out of there, you're still going to have to have the elevator," says Lafferty. "You've got boxes and people. It would be unrealistic to not fix the elevator and irresponsible."