Supervisors Take First Step Toward Possible New DSS Building
On October 23rd, the Board of Supervisors provided direction to Country staff that will have long-term effects on the future locations of several County Departments. Previously, the Board voted to move the County Museum from the Merchant Square building to the Lick Run Community Center. On October 23rd, the Board voted 7-0 to move forward with renovations to the first floor of the Merchant Square building with the intent of moving Community Development (currently located on the third floor) to the entire first floor. The cost estimates of the full first floor renovations are expected to be around $1.5 million.
Below is a PDF copy of a County staff Courthouse Masterplan presented to the Board on October 23, 2018. Refresh page once if the document does not appear.
The Community Development move will allow in the near-term additional space for the Department of Social Services (DSS) to expand into the 3rd floor. The Board also voted 6-1 (Supervisor Ross) to conduct preliminary engineering work (not to exceed $50,000) on property next to the Public Safety building as a potential site for a new DSS building. A Board majority seems to favor conceptually building a new 3-story structure in this location, like the Merchant Square building, which would serve as the new home for DSS and the Dept. of Health.
Supervisor Ross stated he was not opposed to the idea of a new building but wanted to delay any movement until more population data could be evaluated over the next few years. Supervisor Yakabouski pointed to the length of time it takes to build a new building and expressed concerns that a delay would jeopardize having the new building ready when it is needed.
County Museum to Lick Run Community Center - Approved
Community Development to First Floor of Merchant Square - Approved
DSS and Dept Health to expand into 3rd floor of Merchant Square - Approved
Preliminary engineering for potential site of new DSS/Dept. of Health building - Approved
Future Plans discussed pending new DSS building:
Merchant Square Second and Third floors: County Administration, Finance Department, Human Resource Department, Procurement, County Attorney, and Economic Development
Holbert Building: Treasurer and Commissioner of Revenue
Marshall Center Second floor: Information Services
Why does it matter?
A new DSS building is the lynchpin to these movements with an implementation window of 10-12 years. County staff believes these movements will allow the County Government to operate more efficiently and effectively. In 2014, Spotsy residents voted down a Bond Referendum question for general governance building improvements. This means the County needs to pay for any improvements in this category with cash and cannot borrow the necessary funds. Over the next 5 years funds have been identified for these projects - $7.8 million for the proposed DSS building, $5.5 million for Marshall Center renovations, and $3 million for the Holbert Building renovations. Based on actual needs, County staff has determined $4 million in savings for the Holbert and Marshall Center renovations, which frees up additional funds to construct a new DSS building under the current Capital improvements Plan (FY2020-FY2024)