State should cover costs

Why should Fulton County pay for damage done to state property?

It seems like common sense: The state should be responsible for securing its property, including paying for any additional security needed and any damage to it.

Unfortunately, that is not what is happening in?Fulton?County regarding the Tryon campus.

Vandalism last month at the former Tryon Detention Center involved damage to the electrical wiring and equipment at the Tryon wastewater pump station, as well as electrical wiring servicing other buildings. Copper wire was yanked out in several areas.

C.T. Male Associates estimated the cost of the damage and a security upgrade at $96,000. Work may include installation of 6-foot-high security fence.

While the county has been working with the Fulton County Industrial Development Agency to secure title of the 56-building, 515-acre Perth property from the state – local officials want to turn the site into a technology park and business incubator center – that has not happened yet.

A county official noted both the state Office of General Services and Office of Children and Family Services indicated the state carries no property insurance on its facilities, so no insurance claim can be filed to repair the damage.

While supervisors are right to seek a state grant to help pay for half the cost of the repairs and security upgrades, there is still a problem with what is happening here.

The state still owns the property, but Fulton County has to apply for a grant that would pay only half the cost of the repairs and upgrades.

The problem here is not the money; it’s the principles that seem to guide the state government. The state’s willing to promise economic development and grants, but it fails to take care of its own property – and act responsibly when it needs to.

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