The second priority the Board of Commissioners identified via strategic planning was this:
Determining the direction for facilities
The fact that they are still attempting to identify a mere direction is a testament to government incompetence. This has been a topic at the Board for over a decade. Over a decade! And we are still trying to find a direction?
Not to worry. The Board has tasked the Capital Improvement committee (CIP) with handling this. The Chair appointed two members to the CIP – Dawn Lavanway and Politician Jarris Rubingh!
During the last meeting, Ed Boettcher demanded to know what progress has been made, and he wanted to know why the Board had not heard anything back about this. Lavanway told him that they would present it and the Board can vote yes or no. Take it or leave it. *shrug*
Politician Jarris Rubingh hemmed and hawed. Mumbled some vague nonsense, and generally had no answers for Boettcher.
“I have yet to been involved with any plans and I am frustrated with that,” Boettcher said. “We have not followed up on this at all.”
Lavanway tried to deflect and then admitted “We haven’t got to it yet.”
You haven’t got to it yet? The CIP is supposed to determine the direction of the facilities plan for the next 5-10 years. That’s it. That’s what the CIP does. They haven’t got to it yet? What have they been doing.
Good luck finding the minutes to CIP meetings. No where to be found. So, who knows what they do at those meetings?
We have covered how astoundingly useless the Board is when it comes to facilities. But, let’s just review the status of the County’s facilities.
Sheriff’s Annex Building
This place is located on Grove St across from the Sheriff’s administration office. It is where deputies and detectives have their offices. It is awful. The only tool that could possibly fix this building would be a flamethrower.
We may be too pessimistic about this building. Let’s look at it another way: When meth heads are brought in for questioning at the annex, they feel right at home.
This building got to be so bad that the county has already started to move personnel out of the building. They moved several employees over to the health department building, across Broad St. They couldn’t wait for the CIP committee. They had to move.
Can you imagine a couple being head over heels in love? They are so in love that they decide to get married. Hand in hand, they walk to the County Building to get a marriage license. They can’t help but to stare into each other’s eyes as they approach the County Building door. That’s when a concrete facade panel falls off of the county building and crushes the bride-to-be!
OH MY GOD!
That scenario could actually happen. The Board hired an engineering firm to examine the facade panels on the outside of the Building. These are masonry panels bolted on to the exterior walls. So much moisture has built up behind the panels, the damned things could fall off, tumble down, and cause massive damage.
The next time you go there to conduct a forensic audit, watch for falling debris!
Those two buildings need immediate attention.
The jail is still a safety hazard, and it is an eyesore. It is so old that it will continue to cost the county a lot of money to maintain it. At some point, the Board has to be able to comprehend the mathematics of the situation. What is the plan for that building?
The County Building is falling apart. The facade issue is a critical safety issue. But, there are others. Beyond the structural issues, the building is an ugly brutalist structure that has no place downtown. What is the plan for the county building?
The ACT shop, the Maltby building, Commission on Aging, etc. What is the overall plan for these buildings? What is the county’s facilities plan?
This was supposed to be a “priority” for the Board this year. Is it? It sure does not seem like it.
Dawn Lavanway and Politician Jarris Rubingh should resign from CIP immediately and we should entrust that role to more capable people. Terry Van Alstine should be reprimanded for the Board’s failure to plan.
This should be among the Board’s most important responsibilities. They have kicked the can down the road for ten years. Here we are, a decade later, and we are still looking for a mere direction. What a disgrace!