- Last Updated on Wednesday, 04 February 2009 19:05
- Published on Wednesday, 04 February 2009 19:05
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The Board of Supervisors authorized the purchase of a parcel of land containing several small buildings, one with two vehicle bays. The buildings also include an office building and two shops on Route 3. The unanimous action took place on January 22.
The county is paying $450K for the 4.116-acre property. It is located on the north side of Route 3 at 9207 Kings Highway in King George, a couple of parcels west of Howard’s restaurant. The seller is North Stafford Industrial Park, Inc.
County Administrator Travis Quesenberry told The Journal the existing buildings will house the county’s Public Service Authority (PSA) and the General Properties Department.
The PSA is the county’s water and sewer service provider. The General Properties Department includes such services as custodial and grounds maintenance for county properties.
“The buildings and the site there is adequate to meet our current needs,” Quesenberry said. He also said there are a couple of buildings on the property that will be demolished.
Chairman of the Board of Supervisors Joe Grzeika told us, “This buys us 5-10 years on the need for another new building to house these departments.”
Funding to buy the property is coming from the undesignated reserve of the county’s Capital Improvement fund. Quesenberry said they were pleased with the agreed-on price, since the property was on the market for $695K and appraised at $640K.
Quesenberry also said they hoped to complete the purchase for move-in this May.
The Board of Supervisors had put on hold some of its plans to build a new government center with four new buildings at Purkins Corner, with the roads and water/sewer lines already in place.
A decision was made last fall to go forward with a phased approach to start construction of only two of the four planned buildings. That’s because of cost.
Construction costs have risen dramatically since the project was first proposed and it’s no secret that revenues are down due to the state’s slumping economy and the nation’s recession.
Last fall, county-contracted financial analysts told the Board that to construct all four planned government center buildings this year, they could be looking at a real estate increase of 3.5 cents in 2010, an additional 5-cents in 2011 and another 2-cents in 2012.
Those tax hikes did not include costs for a planned Smoot library expansion, which was estimated to add 1.5-cents to the tax rate in 2010, if going forward this year. Those tax hikes did not take into account potential tax increases for any other government operations.
Consequently, a decision was made last fall to go forward with two buildings for now - an animal pound and Sheriff’s Department, which have been put out to bid.
The other two buildings, one for health & human services and a general operations center, are on hold.
With that in mind, Supervisors had scheduled a joint meeting with the School Board in October to see where division officials stood on a possible consolidation of county and division vehicle/bus maintenance and utilization of the middle school building, which will be vacated by the 7th & 8th grades at the end of the school year this June.
The School Board appeared to be divided in support for consolidating vehicle maintenance with the county, adding up to an indecisive ‘maybe.’
Regarding whether the School Board might consider turning over the middle school, that question had been asked two previous times in recent years. First the School Board said they would turn it over to the county, then changed its collective mind in 2005, saying they wanted to keep it, likely for use as an intermediate school.
At the October meeting, School Board member Payne Kilbourn provided his calculations indicating the division’s need to keep the middle school building to house a portion of the student population.
But since that meeting with Supervisors on October 29, the School Board voted to postpone use of the middle school for at least the coming school year, due to cost constraints for long-needed and neglected maintenance issues, including a new well and a new heating and air conditioning (HVAC) system.
That’s why Supervisors had instructed county staff to cast about for options for housing the PSA and General Properties.