Bartholomew County Commissioners say the $3.25 million budget for the proposed county annex building on State Street is too little money.
Commissioners will talk to the County Council next week about borrowing enough money to take the project closer to $5 million dollars.
Commissioners and County Council wrangled over the amount last year, finally agreeing to the $3.25 million number that would be taken from county cash reserves in the general fund and rainy fund. But based on advice from the architects, the commissioners say that isn’t enough money to build a building large enough to house all of the county offices needed at the facility.
“We did this initial interview and asked the departments to give us their needs,” Lienhoop said. “You might say their needs might be wishlist. I supposed you could tackle it one way and say ‘OK we got your wishlist and we are just going to cut it by 50 percent.’ I don’t know that is the answer to the problem.”
Lienhoop said another unexpected complication adds to the space needs.
“In your house, you have a hallway that you absolutely can’t do much with, but you have got to have it,” Lienhoop said. “You have a few square feet in there that are occupied by walls — walls physically taking up square footage. It ends up that figure, in a public building, can be up to about 20 percent.”
Commissioners said they wanted to avoid a situation like the county jail, which was too small when it opened because of cost-cutting. About 15 years later, the county had to add an even-more expensive jail expansion. Commissioner President Larry Kleinhenz said that building and materals costs go up and up, meaning the later expansion is even more costly than the original construction.
Commissioners said they were investigating some options to find more money in the budget, including considering refinancing the county’s jail debt at a lower interest rate.
The current annex building houses the county health department’s nursing program and the Purdue Extension office.
Commissioners approved about $97,000 in architects fees for the initial planning and study phases of the project. The money will be paid by the Cummins architectural program.