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Date Set for Hearing on Communications Building Loan

Posted: Wednesday, October 10th, 2018 at 6:27 am
Author: Sally Y. Hart - KCII News

The date has been set for a public hearing on a loan agreement to fund a new emergency communications building for Washington County.

The board of supervisors unanimously approved the public hearing for October 30th at 9 a.m. in a meeting Tuesday night. Supervisor Chairman Abe Miller said he voted in favor so the public could take part in the process and that he desired a public vote. Supervisor Jack Seward made the motion for the loan not to exceed $3.5 million, “I think what we need to do when we talk about this is to fix the amount, or the price, not to exceed that will be in the agreement. My proposal which was back in August when we talked about it initially, in order to have the election that you wanted, was $3.5 million. And I would suggest that that is a reasonable amount to put on there, taking into consideration any unknown contingencies that might come up.” Seward explained with the current timeline for the building to be ready at the same time the new communications equipment, which is funded differently, then this would be the path that needs to be taken.

The proposed facility would be connected to the currently sheriff’s office and is estimated by Carl A. Nelson staff to cost up to $450 per square foot. The facility would include an Emergency Operations Center to be used for training sessions and as the point of operations in a disaster. The total facility would be 6,800 feet. Supervisor Richard Young said we’re getting to a crisis situation. The current facility has dealt with mold, is at it’s electrical capacity, and has areas that are currently flooded. Seward said this is what the county needs, and the building will likely last another generation and will be the backbone for future necessary equipment upgrades. The project could be similar to the equipment costs, where bids come in under the maximum cap – which is now set at $3.5 million.

County Attorney John Gish explained that for the measure to be put on a ballot now it would require a petition be filed by October 29th by the public and that 1,109 signatures would be needed.