Upshur County Commissioners Court discusses property values, courthouse renovation

Although they haven’t started yet, preparations are being made for renovations at the Upshur County Courthouse.
Published: Sep. 15, 2023 at 1:19 PM CDT|Updated: Sep. 15, 2023 at 5:22 PM CDT
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UPSHUR COUNTY, Texas (KLTV) - Although they haven’t started yet, preparations are being made for renovations at the Upshur County Courthouse, and employees are now conducting business elsewhere.

The Upshur County Courthouse is locked up tight, but signs on the doors say it’s business as usual across the street. That’s where commissioners and Upshur County Judge Todd Tefteller now hold court. Part of the discussion today was about coming courthouse renovations.

“All the county employees and department heads are out of the old building. And we’re all over here in this new building. It’s going to be our temporary base of operations during the renovation,” Tefteller said.

He said the renovation contract has been signed with JC Stoddard Construction out of San Antonio.

“In fact, we’ve already been having a contractor’s meeting to get the bids lined up to perform the work,” Tefteller said.

The judge has been told the benches will have to be removed from the county courtroom so work can be done on the ceiling.

“And it’s going to be a challenge getting them out of the courtroom to be stored somewhere else. They’ll have to be stored in a climate-controlled environment,” Tefteller said.

The benches in the County Courtroom are pretty much really long church pews that are heavy and awkward to move.

“I’m just hoping we can do that with a lot of careful physical labor, and we don’t have to do it with a crane out the third-floor window. We’ll see,” Tefteller said.

He said the benches have been in there for 90 years.

“And they’re going to be put back. It’s going to be restored to its original glory,” Tefteller said.

Tefteller said this project has been in the works for about 20 years.

“This court here can’t take all the credit. It’s our people that went before us, keeping us eligible, keeping the courthouse plans ready,” Tefteller said.

He said renovation is slated to begin in October, and its important to him and many Upshur County residents since the courthouse is:

“A big part of the history of this county, the Upshur County Courthouse,” Tefteller said.

So, for the next couple of years, the employees have left the building.

Tefteller said the projected cost of the renovation is $12.8 million. The Texas Historical Commission will pay 41 percent or $5.2 million. If there are cost overruns the commission will continue to pay 41 percent of the total cost up to another $975,000.

KLTV’s Jamey Boyum talks with Upshur County Judge Todd Tefteller about several items addressed in Upshur County Commissioners Court.

Upshur County Commissioners also voted to lower the county tax rate in this morning’s meeting. The rate will drop from about 60 cents to fifty. Commissioners say it’s the lowest tax rate in over a decade. That’s’ the good news. The bad news is since property values have risen by about 32 percent; the taxes are still higher than last year. County Judge Todd Tefteller said taxes will go about 20 dollars annually for the county’s average 195-thousand-dollar home.