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Dont be short-sighted

Mon, Sep 16th, 2002
Posted in Features

Quote of the week: "It doesnt make sense to build a five-year-into-the-future project and pay for it for 20 years!" Commissioner Harry Root
The county commissioners wrangled with the courthouse project again last week, and while the architect announced that he was at the end of the schematic design phase of his work, the commissioners still could not reach a decision on the scope of the project.
With the final schematic drawings before them, including the most detailed cost estimates to date, with separate add-on components priced in detail and a tentative schedule in hand, the commissioners chose to postpone a decision for at least two more weeks, at which time they will meet with a bonding company.
The complete project, as presented by the architect, David Kane and the construction manager, Dean Sand, would cost about $4.1 million and, according to the designers, meet the countys needs for at least the next 20 to 30 years.
When the final schematic drawings were presented, several of the commissioners began to pick apart locations of specific offices shown on the drawings, and seemed to focus their attention on micro details such as in which room a computer might be placed within the Information Technology department.
While those details seemed to be necessary to enhance discussions on the efficient use of existing storage space, clearly the issue which both the construction design team and the staff waited for resolution was whether the board would proceed with the complete project as defined in the schematic drawings.
When Chairman Bakke began to ask if the mechanical equipment room could be moved to accommodate the county attorneys office in the basement of the proposed new wing, Mr. Kane reminded the commissioners of the process that had brought them to this point.
"I remind you that this was carefully designed with staff and the courts inputpull out a piece and efficiency falls," stated Mr. Kane.
Commissioner Root, with the same confidence he displayed 16 months ago when he made the motion to have the county remodel the courthouse, strongly argued that it is important to build for the future.
"Dont be short-sighted," Mr. Root told his fellow commissioners. "What is the loan rate, three percent?" the commissioner asked as he argued that it didnt make sense to finance a project for 20 years if it only met the countys needs for the next five years.
Even Chairman Bakke admitted that now was a great time to build the project and suggested the board meet with a bonding company for detailed financial information including a payment structure and the cost of a bond to individual taxpayers.
Before the discussion ended, Commissioners Root and Bicknese were able to get a motion passed that instructed Mr. Kane to begin the next phasedesign developmentbut only with an emphasis on the mechanical system.
While the motion passed unanimously, it appeared from the discussion that at least two of the commissionersDahl and Bakkehad not yet made up their minds on the scope of the project.

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