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Supervisors dig deeper into real cost of DHS move

Special committee forming to further discuss DHS move; Supervisors suggest getting bids for how much remodeling will cost

Published: Tuesday, Oct. 2, 2012 11:31 a.m. CDT • Updated: Tuesday, Oct. 2, 2012 11:35 a.m. CDT

Details regarding Department of Human Services (DHS) moving from its current location at the Union County Courthouse to the former Iowa State Extension building became more clear Monday.

Darren Thompson, executive officer for DHS in this area, told the board Monday the total cost to remodel the former Iowa State Extension building, 105 W. Adams St., is expected to be about $50,000.

Of that, Union County would be responsible for 63.8 percent of the total cost ($31,950), Adair County would be responsible for 20.7 percent ($10,300) and Adams County would have 15.5 percent ($7,750).

Thompson added, of the $31,950, the county would be reimbursed at 34.1 percent of that cost by the state, currently, and could be reimbursed at 45.5 percent in 2013. That 45.5 percent reimbursement rate has been proposed and is currently being discussed at the federal level.

At the current 34.1 percent reimbursement, the county would be responsible for an estimated total of about $21,000 in remodeling costs. Meanwhile, at the 45.5 percent reimbursement rate the county would be responsible for about $17,000 in remodeling costs.

Dennis Brown, county supervisor, suggested the county seek contractor bids to know exactly how much remodeling the building would cost. Ron Riley, county supervisor, agreed with Brown.

“I know from doing my own remodeling or projects at my own home, sometimes $50,000 leads into $75,000 or $80,000,” Riley said. “I would like to make sure we wouldn’t spend over $50,000 for this remodeling project. Sometimes you can get swatted upside the head, and it’s more than you think it’s going to be.”

Sandy Hysell, county auditor, told the board she only feels comfortable with finding $25,000 to $30,000 in the budget for these remodeling costs. That money would come from an old bonding issue, whereby funding is still available, and from the general basic fund.

Rental costs

In addition to remodeling costs, the county must find funding to pay rent, utilities and insurance at the 6,000-square-foot building, recently vacated by Iowa State Extension.

The total cost to rent the building has been set at $2,500 per month.

However, the state will reimburse Union County for rent at the reimbursement rating of 34.1 percent or 45.5 percent. The state will also reimburse the county for utility costs and insurance.

Still, even with reimbursement, Brown figured the rent, utilities and insurance will cost the county an extra $2,000 a month or about $24,000 per year. Currently, the county pays no rent as DHS is housed in the downstairs of the Union County Courthouse, and brick building north of the Union County Law Enforcement Center.

Why move?

Thompson said DHS would like to hire two more employees in Union County, but cannot because they do not have the space. Additionally, DHS staff does not currently have an adequate conference/meeting room for employees and families to meet.

And lastly, the move to the building would provide a one-stop shop for DHS and juvenile services — expected to move in together if this move is eventually made.

What now?

Bob Brown, supervisor chairman, recommended a committee be established to continue working through this project.

Riley and Bob Brown were nominated to be on that committee. That committee will continue to delve into the costs involved in remodeling the building and other related issues in the move and report back to the board.

Later in this process, the board will have a roll call vote for or against DHS moving into the building.

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