The Wilson County Commission’s Budget Committee voted to approve up to $364,000 in renovations for the former Fred’s building at its meeting Thursday.

Their decision comes after the full commission voted to purchase the site on Jan. 27 depending on its appraisal value. The county intends to spend $875,000 on the building and move the Wilson County Election Commission inside.

After a discussion centered on the building’s HVAC systems, the committee also opted to set aside money from the capital projects fund to replace them if needed.

“The HVAC units that are on that building are about 17 years old,” Wilson County Director of Operations Robert Baines said. “They have been sitting there, probably not being in use because when I went in that building last time it was very cold. I’d be questioning those, if we need to go ahead and just grab those, replace them and go up to $454,000.”

District 19 Commissioner William Glover expressed reservations about spending that money without knowing the condition of the units, leading to the committee’s final decision.

“I don’t think we need to replace them unless they need to be replaced,” he said. “What we could possibly do is approve the $364,000, and if for some reason we need to replace those we could pull the money out of the capital funds to pay for the central unit.”

Since the county has not actually purchased the Fred’s building, votes on the subject are aimed at putting paperwork in place before the next full commission meeting to avoid losing a contract.

Wilson County Attorney Mike Jennings said the owner has signed a contract, so the county is likely to receive the property. The $875,000 would be paid on a six-year capital outlay note if the purchase goes through.

“Right now we just put an offer in on it,” Mayor Randall Hutto said. “Anything that you approve tonight, if we don’t get the buildings it just goes away.”

The committee also approved up to $180,000 in renovations to a satellite office for the Wilson County Clerk in Mt. Juliet.

“That’s the Green Hills Women’s Club building out in front of the ball fields,” Hutto said. “We have a contract to buy it for $420,000, and we’re going to pay $150,000 down and $90,000 for three years to Green Hill Women’s Club.”

Hutto said the move is intended to accommodate a growing staff at the clerk’s office while maintaining a satellite location for Mt. Juliet residents to update car tags.

“We have a similar setup in Lebanon so people don’t have to drive from one end of the city to the other,” he said. “Mr. Goodall’s staff is already working out of the new building.”

Baines also outlined the exterior improvements the county looks to make to the location, including a new handicap accessible ramp, steps, sidewalk, windows and entryway.

The Wilson County Commission’s next regular meeting will be held at 7 p.m. on Feb. 24, at 228 E. Main St. in Lebanon.

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