09/01/08 — Wayne County will eye Jeffreys Building contract

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Wayne County will eye Jeffreys Building contract

By Steve Herring
Published in News on September 1, 2008 12:21 PM

Wayne County's Work First program designation and a budget amendment for the project to renovate the Jeffreys Building (the old Federal Building) top the short agenda on tap Tuesday for Wayne County commissioners.

An agenda briefing for commissioners is scheduled to get under way at 8 a.m., followed by the meeting at 9 a.m. in the commission's chambers on the fourth floor of the Wayne County Courthouse Annex.

Debbie Jones, director of the county's department of social services, is expected to make the Work First designation and committee appointment presentation to commissioners.

A state program, Work First can provide parents with short-term training and other services to help them become employed and self-sufficient. Most families have two years to move off Work First Family Assistance.

The county must decide whether it will remain a "standard county" or become an "electing county."

County Manager Lee Smith said he did not see the county changing its designation. The Department of Social Services Board is recommending the county retain its standard county designation.

Standard counties follow the state plan, while electing counties also can establish their own eligibility and benefit levels. Staying a standard county means it remains under the state's legal protection. Electing counties are responsible for any county lawsuits resulting from people contesting decisions adversely affecting their receipt of public assistance.

Commissioners also will consider a budget amendment for the Jeffreys Building renovation.

Smith said the county has been setting aside money for the project for several years in a special fund. On Tuesday, commissioners will simply move the final $100,643 from that special fund to the county capital outlay fund.

A contract for $853,000 has been awarded to D.S. Simmons for the work. A pre-construction meeting is scheduled for today.

It will take between 60 to 90 days to get the project under way and could take nine to 12 months to complete.

The project is part of the county's plans to free up space in the courthouse to expand the district attorney's, judges' and clerk of courts' offices. The move also will extend the life of the building and hopefully help ease parking congestion around the courthouse, Smith said.

Once completed, the environmental health, inspections and planning departments will move in. Also moving in will be some of the Wayne Net operations.

The renovated building will contain a training facility, too.

At present, the county's emergency services and telecommunications are located on the second floor. Some emergency services operations and human resources will share the first floor once renovations are completed. Environmental health, inspections and planing will occupy the third floor.