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Lake County government buildings in desperate need of repair, upgrades

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LAKE COUNTY, Fla. - Lake County owns and operates several government office buildings across the county that are in desperate need of repair.

"We've got 150 buildings and over 40 percent of those buildings are 20 years old," County Manager David Heath said.

The old buildings are equipped with 20-year-old heating and cooling systems that were manufactured decades ago. Some of the equipment is so old, companies no longer make replacement parts for it.

"So we had to revert back to online means. For instance, we buy parts on eBay for example," Heath said.

Heath said $13 million worth of replacement parts are needed, primarily for the Central Energy Plant. The facility runs the air conditioning and heating system for the county's administration building, sheriff's office, the courthouse and the jail.

County leaders said it's not only hard to find parts, but also hard to find mechanics who know how the old stuff works.

"The longer the situation goes on, the backlog will continue to grow and increase the chance we have a failure in one of the systems," Heath said.

The County Manager said $700,000 in replacement parts is needed immediately and the county commission will be asked to come up with the funds.