Chronicles of Uselessness: FACILITIES

A recent audit of the revealed that the County’s buildings are in disrepair. No kidding.

A compliance expert was brought in and his report pointed out several glaring problems.

  • The jail is a mess, with serious safety concerns.
  • Wires are hanging from the ceiling all over the 911 center.
  • There is no fire suppression system in the County Building.
  • In several areas, the County fails OSHA standards.

He observed soot that comes through the ventilation systems. He found daisy-chained power strips due to insufficient wiring. Employees regularly utilize space heaters in drafty offices.

This is not new. The facilities are deficient. The Board has been told this numerous times. They have hired engineers to tell them this. They have hired consultants to tell them this. These experts have all made recommendations.

Several different plans were considered by the Board for what to do with facilities. This conversation has been going on since 2004. What has been done? Nothing except wasting money:

2017Purchase of Abandoned Bank in Bellaire (for some reason)$520,000
2017Hire Consultant for Facilities Master Plan$68,000
2018Public comment reviewed Master Plan
2018Paid additional money to consultant for more options$4,000
2019Soil survey at County property near Animal Control $5,300
2019Demolition of the abandoned bank in Bellaire purchased for some reason$120,000
2020Pay consultant to come back and reexplain all the options for facilities$3,000
2021NOTHING. NO PROGRESS.
2022NOTHING. NO PROGRESS.

This Board is terrible at this. There are existential issues that need to be addressed. There are options available. There are plans that have been drawn up and considered for YEARS. Yet, the Board does nothing. They have accomplished nothing but waste money for 5 straight years!

The Board keeps hiring experts and consultants to tell them what they already know. Then, they ignore the recommendations of the consultants. What is the point? The last tangible thing that the Board has done with facilities was to buy an old bank in secret. Then, they tore that same bank down.

Useless! Actually, it is worse than useless, since it has been so expensive.

When you are speaking with people who are running for a Board seat, ask them about facilities. The residents and businesses in Bellaire do not want ugly old decrepit buildings downtown. The officers do not wish to work in a dangerous correctional facility. Residents do not want to go apply for permits or do business in a county building that has all the charm of a 1950’s insane asylum. County employees would prefer not to plug their space heaters into a daisy-chained power strip, while inhaling soot.

The Board has done nothing in five years to deal with any of this. That is, unless you count buying a bank and then tearing it down.

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