02/19/13 — Commissioners tour, eye county facilities

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Commissioners tour, eye county facilities

By Steve Herring
Published in News on February 19, 2013 1:46 PM

Overall, Monday's tour of county-owned facilities produced no surprises, other than the number of buildings that need roof replacements, said Wayne County Commission Vice Chairman Ray Mayo.

"I was not aware that we had that many," said Mayo, chairman of the board's Facilities Committee said following the tour. "But otherwise, I just see some general maintenance that needs to be done, and capital improvements that need to take place.

"We need this (information) for our budget so that we can come up with a solution amount for building maintenance. That is why we are doing this."

Mayo said that he expects most people, just like him, did not realize how many buildings the county owns.

"It is really much bigger than what I thought what the county owns and what it has to maintain," he said.

No specific costs were discussed.

Commissioners convened at 9 a.m. in their meeting room on the fourth floor of the county courthouse before setting off on a nearly four-hour tour of the courthouse, sheriff's and magistrates' offices, jail, Wayne Center and Farm Service Agency, the Borden, Jeffery's and Will Sullivan buildings, the Day Reporting Center, County Office Building, Animal Control and the facility department warehouse.

Facilities Director Milford Smith conducted the tour.

At least one more tour is planned to visit buildings outside the downtown area, Mayo said.

"We want to know exactly what the county owns," Mayo said at the start of the meeting. "We need to know this for maintenance purposes and budget purposes.

"We are going to see the conditions of our facilities and Milford is going to be coming up with some estimates in the near future about maintenance that needs to be done. So we have got to get a grip on our facilities. It is a major part of our budget."

Wayne County commissioners have said they not only want an inventory of all county buildings, but their cost to taxpayers as well. They also want to know who the tenants are, and whether or not they are paying for use of the buildings.

Commissioners identified facilities as one of their top priorities during their planning retreat last month.

County Manager Lee Smith said that the day's tour would not be heavily detailed, and that he had asked Milford Smith to point out items "good or bad," to commissioners.

"There is regular upkeep that you will see that we put in our operational budget, but then probably the larger picture is the 5-, 10-, 15-year capital improvement plan," Lee Smith said. "Some of those obviously connect to detention (jail) and the courthouse. You will see about storage (needs) today.

"It is just a walk-around to give you some idea, so if we are in the budget talking and Milford brings an annual CIP (capital improvement plan) in operations to us you will have an idea what he is talking about."

Milford Smith told the commissioners before the tour started that he wanted them to forget what they knew about buildings.

"Big buildings are not like anything that you are familiar with," he said. "The environmental systems in here are not your home air conditioners. These large buildings don't work anything like that."

For example, he told commissioners to notice how cold it is when they walked through the courthouse atrium. It is because of the doors opening and closing continuously, he said.

"There is no way for an air conditioning system or heating system to deal with that," he said. "One of the things you are going to see in our CIP is some airlocks on both sides of the atrium to maintain the temperature."