District 2 County Commissioner Kevin Paslay said Monday he had asked an electrician to look at the possibility of setting up a backup generator for the Osage County courthouse.


“Dollar-wise, it’s pretty expensive to close this courthouse,” Paslay said, referring to the expense incurred if county operations at the building have to stop because of a power outage. He said the electrician who looked at the building thought the installation of a backup power generator might block some exits to the building and cause some safety concerns.


As a result, Paslay said, the initial conclusion is that a backup generator for the courthouse is probably not feasible.


“But he’s gonna make a report and I’ll bring that report back,” Paslay told his colleagues. He explained that he wanted to look at the issue in detail.


Following the meeting, Paslay told the Journal-Capital he thinks potential difficulties in providing backup electric power for the courthouse will add urgency to discussions that are getting under way in regard to replacing the courthouse.


“Absolutely,” Paslay said. “It’s another safety issue, I think.”


During the Monday board session, District 1 Commissioner Jerry Howerton observed that backup power can be a crucial need for any of a variety of county offices, depending on what time of year it is and what public service needs they’re trying to meet. For instance, with tax collection moving into high gear right now, the Treasurer’s Office has to be able to operate without interruption.


Howerton said he thought the commissioners might “start a ball rolling” about addressing the issue of backup power throughout county government.


Paslay voiced a similar sentiment about preparation.


“We’re going to have another catastrophe one of these days,” he said.