Commissioners consider buying $1.6M property for human services
Grand County Commissioners on Tuesday will be discussing the purchase of a $1.6 million building for the county’s Human Services department due to concerns about the department’s current facilities.
Commissioners are considering purchasing the building at 129 E Byers Ave, where Whitmer Law, LLC is located, in Hot Sulphur Springs after the facility need was brought to their attention in the 2018 Grand Results strategic plan, which outlined $55 million in building needs.
“It meets a lot of our needs and it’s for sale, so it’s a fortunate circumstance of timing, largely,” Commissioner Rich Cimino said of the building.
Currently, the human services department, which is responsible for public services such as child support services, child and adult protection services, child care assistance, food and Medicaid assistance, is spread out over multiple older buildings in Hot Sulphur Springs.
“Their buildings in Hot Sulphur Springs are bad and (the department) is in dire need of some new accommodations, that are safer and more effective to deliver services to clients,” Cimino said.
The building under consideration is also more accessible for people with disabilities and provides improved privacy and security for clients, a news release about the potential property acquisition said.
According to the news release, initial estimates to build a new human services facility were upwards of $10 million. A 2018 facility needs assessment estimated a $7 million cost for human service’s needs.
Comparing the cost of buying the existing property, which is estimated to cost $170 per square foot, to a newly constructed facility, which is around $350 per square foot, commissioners found the savings to be enticing.
The news release also notes that Grand County is reimbursed by the state for rent on any building the human services department occupies.
Cimino added that the building size is appropriate for the human services department’s needs and the cost is low enough that the county probably wouldn’t finance the purchase.
“We would most likely use the reserves in our general fund for this purpose,” he said.
County Commissioner Kris Manguso said she is planning to recuse herself from any discussion on the purchase of this property because of her relation to the Whitmer family.
If the sale is approved, the human services department would likely move into their new office this summer or fall.
Cimino added that the county continues to have discussions around other facility needs, such as the Public Safety Facility voters rejected in November, but noted that project is much larger and more costly.
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