- Associated Press - Tuesday, October 21, 2014

MONTGOMERY, Ala. (AP) - The south Montgomery probate office could be closed as soon as Nov. 1, Probate Judge Steven Reed.

Reed said he would be closing the office on Woodley Road as early as November and no later than Feb. 1 because of ongoing issues including mice infestation, a leaky roof, crime in the area and a snake being spotted inside the office.

County Administrator Donnie Mims has been tasked with finding a suitable location to replace it, County Commissioner Reed Ingram said.

Reed said the employees will temporarily move into other probate offices until a new location is found.

“I thought it was important to do something to get people out of that office,” he said.

Commission Vice Chairman Dan Harris said that he expects the commission to find a location soon, and perhaps even before the south office has a chance to close.

“I think we’ll find something, and it’s not going to take us that long to come up with a decision,” Harris said.

Ingram said he supports Reed’s decision to move the employees out of the office, but he and other commissioners are not as high on Reed’s suggestion to buy an undeveloped piece of property at Troy Highway and Christine Elizabeth Curve.

Reed said that while the listed price is $496,584, it most likely could be negotiated down. The total estimated cost would be close to $3 million, he said.

Commissioners said they oppose both the location and price, pointing out potential traffic concerns and that the county already is funding several construction projects.

Reed made a presentation to the commissioners Monday showing the timeline of troubles at the south probate office, which he said date back to June 2012.

He also detailed his attempts to find another location for the office, listing the potential spots that did not work out for a variety of reasons.

He also asked the commission to take the lead on finding a new location. Harris agreed that commissioners had left it up to Reed for too long.

Ingram said there are two possibilities that the commission has been looking at potential locations for the office.

“It would make a lot of sense to pull the trigger on one of those two options we are looking at,” Ingram said, adding that the locations would require a minimum of renovation.

The focus is on the area along South Boulevard between Woodley Road and Troy Highway, Ingram said, adding that there are plenty of existing buildings in that area.

“We don’t need to create a new building when we’ve got so many boxes that are empty over there,” he said.

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Information from: Montgomery Advertiser, https://www.montgomeryadvertiser.com

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