County Council right to reject costly extension office proposal
Friday, March 15, 2013 11:00 AM
The Jefferson County Extension office performs a variety of important services, but it doesn't need a $600,000 building to conduct its business.
The County Council was correct to pull the plug on the expensive proposal for a new facility at the fairgrounds in favor of a scaled-back building.
Bret Dodd of RQAW, the Indianapolis firm handling the designs, presented the newest plan to the council that would have had a price tag of more than $600,000.
Rather than follow the proposal, the council agreed to go with an outline of an earlier design by RQAW. That draft proposed a building of about 2,900 square feet, nearly 2,000 square feet less than the most recent design.
That was the correct decision.
Council president Bill Hensler is right. He said there has been too much back-and-forth discussions with RQAW, prolonging the process. The project started in February 2011 and has been redesigned several times.
The fairgrounds is a logical location for the building which will also include the county's soil and water office. The county pays about $12,000 in rent each year for its soil and water office. The idea is to combine the offices and use the rent money to pay on the new structure.
County Council members correctly are concerned about the public reaction to a large expenditure. Council member Keith Gaffney said it best: "The average taxpayer would raise their eyebrows about paying this much for one office."
Council members are on the right track. RQAW needs to come back with a design that fits the county's needs - and budget.