Commissioners take next step in consolidating offices

Posted November 29, 2012 at 6:00 am

by Julie Ann Madden

It’s as simple as removing half a wall, adding a counter top and installing a door between the current Assessor’s Office and Extension Office in the southeast corner of the Union County Courthouse basement.

Then the Planning & Zoning Office, which is Planning Director Dennis Henze’s office, would be moved adjacent to the Assessor’s Office into the office space currently used by Extension 4-H Youth Program Advisor Rachel Bonine.

She would move into the office area in the main Extension Office room where the Weed Board superintendent’s desk is now. The Weed Board superintendent’s desk and supplies would move into the current Planning & Zoning Office.

Commissioner Milton Ustad made the suggestion at the Oct. 30 and at their Nov. 13 meeting, commissioners did a second “walk-through” tour with Union County Building Superintendent/Grounds Keeper Scott Sexton.

They directed him to investigate the costs of this remodeling project and present it at the Nov. 27 meeting.

This plan would allow an administrative assistant, who is currently being hired, to work for both the Assessor’s Office and the Planning & Zoning Office.

This administrative assistant replaces 16-year veteran Office Assistant Debra Severson who resigned from her job in the Assessor’s Office.

The Weed Board superintendent’s position is also currently vacant as the Commissioners unanimously approved Superintendent Randy Moller’s resignation at their Oct. 30 meeting.

Ustad had previously noted both Director of Equalization Dawn Steckelberg and Henze had extra money in their 2012 budgets which could be used for this project.

Steckelberg was asked to consider hiring Severson as a consultant to train the new administrative assistant if the person isn’t hired before her resignation becomes effective. Steckelberg was asked to bring back a consulting proposal to the Nov. 27 meeting.

During his monthly department head’s report, Sexton reported the only major project he foresees for next year is the courthouse’s parking lot needs repaired as it is settling where old fuel tank was. The plan is to grind the top 2 – 3 inches off, slope it for proper water drainage and resurface it. He has a bid for about $50,000 but Public Works Director Raymond Roggow added by the time the commissioners get ready to do this project, they will need to consider the cost of both concrete and asphalt.

The recent tuck-pointing project has been completed. He noted there was water leakage in the sheriff’s evidence room due to those doing this work left a gap in the tuck-pointing. However, this has since been fixed.

“They did a good job,” said Sexton. “We should be good for another 30 years — that’s how long the last tuck-pointing lasted.”

Sexton plans to improve the courthouse’s basement bathrooms by installing new panels and toilet paper dispensers.

One other issue discussed was closing the jail area in the courthouse and moving work release inmates to the jail in the adjacent Law Enforcement Center building.

Sexton reminded the commission of the courthouse jail issues. The toilets are above the kitchen area, and there continues to be leakage problems with the plumbing. He continues to just replace the water-damaged ceiling tiles. The area also smells and that smell goes throughout the courthouse via the ventilation system. Karpen said consolidating the jail into one location such as all in the Law Enforcement Center would be discussed in upcoming meetings.

“We got a lot of the big stuff done this year,” said Sexton, listing some of the projects on his
“Done List:” roof on the jail and building tuck-pointing. “I think just left is the parking lot that is my problem. (Sheriff) Dan Limoges has furnaces in his area to replace.”

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