board leaves mold-infested
switches to a new site after reporting allergy and respiratory problems.
MORRISON, Times-Union correspondent
July 11, 2008
Board of Assessors office was on the move Thursday morning, vacating its
mold-infested headquarters in downtown Darien.
Luther Smart made a deal for another building Wednesday after the County
Commission authorized him to find a temporary site during its Tuesday
Workers in the
office blamed the mold infestation for allergy and upper respiratory
problems, and perhaps even more serious health problems.
been to a doctor with upper respiratory problems primarily, but also with
sinusitis and gallbladder and thyroid trouble," Chief Appraiser John Barnes
None of the
health issues has been positively linked to the mold infestation, Barnes
said, but the types of molds found in the 1960s structure are known to cause
allergic reactions and upper respiratory infections.
"Even before the
mold was discovered, we had an unusually high absentee rate due to illness,"
Smart said he's
awaiting a report from the county Health Department on what kinds of
illnesses the molds in the building can cause, but he's been told by
certified mold inspector Russell Gladding that the molds are nontoxic and do
not cause life-threatening illnesses.
Assessor's Offices will be housed - at least for the next three months - in
a former real estate office on U.S. 17 North in Darien. The county will pay
$2,000 a month to owner Wallace Williams for the 3,000-square-foot building,
"I looked around
and I couldn't find anything comparable to this," he said.
Barnes said the
building more than fills the needs of his six-person staff.
The building has
nine offices and is wired for computer and phone service. It has a
conference room, public restrooms and ample parking, Barnes said. It is also
accessible for the disabled.
After Barnes and
his staff have been moved, the old building will be inspected to see if it's
worth salvaging, Smart said.