August 5, 2009
Cat Andersen/Eyewitness News
Beech Grove – Inspectors cited Beech Grove’s city hall with a number of health violations. Leaks and poor drainage has led to serious mold problems, yet some city employees are still working there.
Inside the Beech Grove City Hall, you’ll find puddles on tables, rotting ceiling tiles, warped walls and carpets and mold on every level from the vents to the water-logged basement.
The city council meetings have been moved from that building to the community center, and so have the courts.
“The conditions just aren’t acceptable for people to be there and that’s why they moved the meetings, so I don’t know why it’s okay for people to continue to work in that building,” said Stephanie Hubbard, Beech Grove resident.
Even the mayor has moved his office and assistants to a different building, but some city employees are still required to work there.
“We have a gal that is pregnant,” said Ed Bell, city council member.
Mold has been shown to weaken the immune system, trigger asthma attacks, cause infections and migraines and over time, can attack the brain and even cause death.
“It’s not only a health issue and a city hall landmark but you have government not being done right for the people,” said Bud Templin, city council member.
City council members say they were told the meetings were being moved because the heat and air conditioning system wasn’t working.
“There was no mention about any mold issue,” said Bell.
They say they were floored when they found a Marion County Health Department inspection report listing violations due to mold as far back as March 2008.
“It was clearly obvious that was the reason we were moving out,” said Bell. “It’s a slap in the face.”
City council members say they’ve gone to the mayor to ask about this inspection report and also what he plans on doing to solve this problem. They say they cannot get him on record to discuss any sort of solution.
“We’ve asked him to come before the council and answer questions but he refuses to do that. He wants to do it in private but we’ve had enough of the private,” said Bell.
The mayor would not speak to Eyewitness News personally but his public relations staff said they had ultra violet air purifiers installed in the air conditioning system.
“They’re trying to put a Band-Aid on the situation when it’s a serious problem,” said Bell.
The clerk treasurer says she feels safe working in her wing.
“I personally trust the board of health inspector,” said Sarah Kincaid.
The Marion County Health inspector says while the non-operational parts of the building do need work, they found no reason to vacate the working offices because they found no visible signs of mold in the work space.
Eyewitness News spotted mold growing from the ceiling and the walls in the employee’s bathroom and from behind the refrigerator in the break room, however.
Beech Grove City Council meetings are open to the public. They take place the first Monday of each month at 7:00 pm. The next meeting is September 7th at the Hornet Park Community Center.