Benton County Government Should be Under One Roof

Save Administrative Dollars by Consolidating Office Space

Benton County’s home is its courthouse. Most of the courthouse is used by the State of Oregon for the purpose of running the courts. Lack of courthouse space makes it necessary for Benton County to rent a large amount of office space to house its departments. Benton County should join the State of Oregon and Federal Government in taking advantage of some of the best office space available in the county.

Hewlett-Packard has offered to allow the county to lease up to 84,000 square feet of Class A office space at a very reasonable rate. This facility has everything the county needs to bring down the cost of doing business. Fewer county employees would be needed to operate out of one building. The rate includes full service, which covers all maintenance and operating expenses. The county could reduce the facility department, allowing funds to be used for other budgetary items. There are conference rooms, an on-site exercise room (which would cost $10.00 per person monthly and could be part of the county’s health plan), abundant parking, athletic fields, and access to the building cafeteria. Hewlett-Packard has systems furniture in place that can be made available for Benton County’s use at no charge (except for moving costs).

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5 responses to “Benton County Government Should be Under One Roof

  1. Jerry,
    Your motivation to reduce spending is commendable, but be careful of being an unwitting accomplice to helping the biggest spending wish on the Commisioners wish-list- – – I refer to the huge block-size building they envision for local government offices.

    Biggest hurdle Commissioners must overcome for this wish-list item is convincing public that office space consolidation is needed. I disagree that it is needed unless, and only unless the consolidation SIGNIFICANTLY reduces spending and is PERMANENT and not subject to expiration of leases for the consolidated space. Please don’t be responsible for helping Commissioners sell the idea that consolidation is good, which overcomes their biggest hurdle, and then find them end-running you in one of two ways.
    First end-run is selling consolidation and then selling their Taj-Majal solution instead of your HP proposal. Second end-run is for them to let your HP solution succeed and then replace it with a Taj-Majal at the first lease expiration date. Your effort to sell the idea that consolidation is good may easily backfire and cause taxpayers much pain.

    I like the distribued, amall town atmosphere of the present office spaces. I disagree that consolidation will increase County employee efficiency and result in fewer County employees. Face-to-face conversations are becoming history; everybody uses cell-phones or e-mail for fast communication and they will continue these practices even if located in the same large building.

    Dan Ziegler

  2. Jerry Jackson

    Facilities Program
    Cost cuts taken to balance the budget include: 1) Deferred Maintenance – During the 2007-09 biennium, $272,000 was transferred from the Facilities Capital Maintenance Fund to the General Fund. This transfer left the Facilities Division unable to complete projects it had previously planned for during the 2007-09 biennium. Unless funding can be obtained through the Capital Improvement Plan, the Facilities Division will have to continue deferring building maintenance projects for the next several years.

    Facilities
    Public Works – Intra-governmental Service Fund

    Purpose:
    Plan and maintain accessible, safe, efficient, comfortable and productive workspace for all county functions and related public use. Provide management, maintenance, and other services for approximately 200,000 square feet of county owned and leased office, storage and shop facilities. Develop and implement long and short-term plans for space needs. Identify major maintenance and capital improvement projects to preserve the historic integrity and capital investment in our public facilities.

    Accomplishments:
    • Replaced Law Enforcement Building (LEB) Boiler and Public Service Building (PSB) HVAC chiller system
    • Cleaned duct work in LEB and PSB
    • Replaced floor covering in PSB, Courthouse, LEB, Assessors, and OSU Extension
    • Replaced roof on Parks maintenance building
    • Constructed Fairgrounds loft storage
    • Installed RV overflow spaces at Fairgrounds
    • Completed Fairgrounds Master Plan Architectural Phase I, Phase I of retrofit of lighting in PSB and Public Works, and
    emergency generator in Courthouse
    • Repaired LEB deck and concrete
    • Upgraded Fairgrounds arena restroom and performed Carriage House improvements
    Objectives:
    • Paint and seal LEB
    • Replace GasPac at PSB and Public Works, LEB ceiling grid lighting, and floor covering at PSB and Courthouse
    • Perform mechanical upgrade at Assessors
    • Complete Phase II retrofit at Public Works and Assessors
    • Repair & replace sidewalks at Courthouse, LEB and PSB
    • Upgrade shower/locker room in Public Works restroom
    • Place new heating system in Parks shop
    • Upgrade Courthouse main power distribution system

    Average cost per square foot for county building space vs. local lease.
    (2007 based on market of $1.35/sf + .20 for utilities & custodial)

    Budget Total $4,199,793.00

    The Building Development Reserve Fund was created to save money toward future development of central administrative office space in the downtown Law Enforcement Building block. The fund accumulates payments from various sources. The general fund will contribute $200,000 in the biennium. The fund will continue to accumulate interest and net income from space rentals from business and residential property on the Law Enforcement Building block.
    Building Development Reserve Fund $2,066,434

    (Benton County 2009-11 Budget)

  3. Jerry Jackson

    Average cost per square foot for county building space vs. local lease. (2007 based on market of $1.35/sf + .20 for utilities & custodial) (Benton County 2009-11 Budget)

    Proposed Lease of Building 10

    Premises:
    Up to 85,000 sq. ft. on the first (1st) floor of Building 10.

    Lease Term:
    Five (5) to ten (10) year lease term.

    Rental Rate: Beginning at $20.00 per square foot annually ($1.67 monthly), full service which includes all operating expenses. Please Note: This rate also includes real estate taxes which will be deducted to reflect the County’s tax exempt status. Rental Escalation: Three percent (3%) annual rent escalators. Tenant

    Improvements:
    HP will provide a tenant improvement allowance of up to fifteen dollars ($15.00) per RSF for Benton County to build out the space. (Letter)

    2007 rate of $1.55/sf plus the repairs noted above from the budget vs $1.67/sq for all inclusive current rate minus allowances. Reduce the current Facilities budget total $4,199,793.00 by reducing the FTE of the Facilities Department substantially.

  4. I can’t figure out why the county wouldn’t seriously consider the facility here at HP. There is ample parking, an on-site cafeteria, a decent fitness center, as well as surveillance cameras.

    Thanks for pointing this out Jerry!

  5. John H. Detweiler

    To be consistent with other things I have said with respect to public finance, I am for a least cost long run solution to housing the Benton County government. By least cost, I mean the lowest life cycle costs — including development, acquisition, operation and disposal costs — annualized over the long run. By long run, I mean that the time horizon should be far enough into the future to the point where the discounted cash flows — at the county’s cost of capital — become small relative to the errors in the cost estimates.
    With respect to the Taj-Majal, it should not be built unless it is part of the least cost long run solution. If it is built, and is not part of the least cost long run solution, it becomes a monument to the egos of the Board of Commissioners.
    We have a “Building Development Reserve Fund”. The purpose being: “To accumulate resources over multiple years to make an equity contribution to construction of a downtown office building for county
    administrative and other space needs.” By having this fund, it appears that the Commissioners are bound and determined to have a new downtown office building whether it is, or is not, part of the least cost long run solution to housing county government. In my opinion, the money in this fund should be directed to improving county roads.

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