Commissioners discuss annex issues

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

On Monday, Putnam County Commissioners continued their discussion of what to do about the county annex building.

The issue was pushed to the forefront of their agenda because of the cost in repairs and maintenance to the building.

The existing annex requires over $500,000 of work, including roof repair and maintenance and new equipment for the heating and cooling system just to keep it operable.

With the news that the boiler in the annex is not holding water and will cost thousands of dollars to repair, commissioners and courthouse annex committee members are looking at making a quick decision on what to do with the annex.

Terry Burnworth with Pyramid Architects went over the options presented by a committee formed in February 2008 to review the annex and look at any future needs of the county and judicial offices.

Burnworth ran through seven options that included two offsite and one downtown building as well as changes to the current annex.

He broke the costs out into dollars per square foot at each location. To move into the Marsh Building (old LoBill) would cost $116 per square foot; keeping the existing annex and making a small addition would cost $114 per square foot.

Remodeling the current structure and adding 6,000 feet would cost $108 per square foot; keeping the existing central section and gym at the annex would cost $101 per square foot; building a new center would be $97 per foot and building a new judicial center would cost $119 per square foot.

The least expensive option would be keeping the gym for storage and building an addition of 29,000 feet in the parking lot for $91 per square foot.

The new facility would be used for county offices and would be constructed prior to demolition of the existing annex building. This plan also includes using the basement of the gym for storage and as a possible FEMA tornado shelter.

The utility and maintenance cost savings per year for a new facility would average $42,599, with a 20-year estimated savings of $851,970. The deferred maintenance cost for issues on the current annex would be $2.5 million, along with a needed addition for $800,000.

Burnworth recommended looking into making the building LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) certified. Tom Pittman urged doing this as well.

"Schools are really saving by using this. It allows for grants and funding based on using a green scoring system," said Pittman.

H.J. Umbaugh & Associates provided commissioners with estimated project costs and funding schedules including an Economic Development Income Tax Revenue Bond for 20 years in the amount of $3.9 million for the cost of the project.

Later in the meeting, Jeff Moe with Wilson Real Estate and owner of the Marsh property, made a presentation to the commissioners about buying the old LoBill property for the annex project.

Moe purchased the building a year ago for $1.3 million. The property has 52,000 square feet with 4.25 acres. He is offering the entire property for $1.85 million

"This property gives the county vast options," he told the group. "There is one tenant slated to go into the building and the rental fees from that will take care of some of the maintenance issues."

Moe also suggested that the frontage and land would be worth a lot of money in 20-30 years because of its location on Indianapolis Rd.

That property currently pays about $25,000 a year in property taxes.

Commissioners took all the information under advisement.

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  • Be careful, commissioners! The cheapest way is not always the best option. Look at this problem from all angles and make the wisest decision. Too often, when spending taxpayer's money, politicians do not make frugal choices. I can't understand why this has not been addressed before this "crisis", since there was a study group formed in February of 2008. Now the county is being pushed to make a quick decision that might not be the best choice for the taxpayers.

    -- Posted by not gullible on Wed, May 20, 2009, at 9:10 AM
  • My name is Jeff Moe I have owned the property for 15 months. I do not think it is fair that the newspaper never asked me how much I have spent on improvements,maintence,taxes etc. I have 1,850,000 in the property. Second I can not believe that Pyramid has not spoken to me ever. They called Marsh Supermarkets. The price Marsh qouted was $2,500,000. The county can now purchase the property 53,000 square feet for 1,850,000 that is roughly $36 dollars a square foot. Pyrmaid says it will cost $119 to build the the offices. I will build out any office space for $40 square foot. So the real cost should be $76 dollars a square foot not $119.That is the real cost to the county for twice the space twice the land. Thanks

    -- Posted by jeff moe on Thu, May 21, 2009, at 6:15 PM
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