Boone County Key Bank Building Purchase
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David Rodgers, Tom Santelli, Debby Shubert, Kevin Van Horn, and Marcia Wilhoite voted Yes for Ordinance 2016-02 on May 10, 2016, to purchase the Key Bank Building BEFORE a professional evaluation of the building's condition. John Hume voted No. Steve Jacob voted Yes at the first reading on April 12, 2016.
It was emphasized that an evaluation of the condition of the 44-year-old Key Bank Building by a disinterested professional should have been an important factor for the Boone County Council to consider BEFORE final approval of the $1.85 million bond issue that was needed for the county to purchase the Building. The bond issue included a total of $1,400,000 to purchase the Key Bank Building – a $1,300,000 purchase price together with $100,000 for HVAC improvements. It was indicated that there would be cash flow concerns if the condition of the Key Bank Building is such that will cost considerably more to make needed improvements than the $100,000 included in the bond issue for HVAC improvements.
Well, guess what? The County Council went ahead and approved the Key Bank Building WITHOUT publicly divulging the actual anticipated costs of the necessary Key Bank Building improvements. The considerable Key Bank Building improvement costs were revealed just three months later on August 10, 2016. What was the real reason for the big rush to have the County Council approve the Key Bank Building purchase before performing the proper due diligence beforehand and publicly revealing the actual building condition?
The current Boone County “Capital Improvement Plan” lists the following
Key Bank Building improvements for 2017-2019:
$ 40,000 Lighting Upgrades
$150,000 Rooftop Unit / HVAC Controls
$225,000 Exterior Building Repair
$150,000 Elevator Upgrades
$150,000 Roof Replacement
$ 70,000 Stairway Cameras (Sheriff business plan component)
$785,000 TOTAL Key Bank Building Improvements
There is an important lesson here. Concerned citizens must INSIST that their elected public servants perform thorough due diligence BEFORE making costly spending decisions – or elect public servant replacements who will conscientiously handle the public’s business with the same common-sense rigor used in the private sector.
Key Bank Building Condition
An evaluation of the condition of the 44-year-old Key Bank Building by a disinterested professional should have been an important factor for our Boone County Council to consider BEFORE final approval of the proposed $1.85 million bond issue that is needed for the county to purchase the Building. The bond issue apparently includes a total of $1,400,000 to purchase the Key Bank Building – a $1,300,000 purchase price together with $100,000 for HVAC improvements.
Some of our Boone County Council members followed the lead of our Boone County Commissioners in looking only at a $41 per square foot purchase price for the Key Bank Building (the $1.4 million total purchase cost divided by the 34,099 square feet in the Key Bank Building). These elected public servants concluded that a $41 per square foot purchase price is a bargain compared to a supposed $300 per square foot cost to build a new building. However, there will be cash flow concerns if the condition of the Key Bank Building is such that will cost considerably more to make needed improvements than the $100,000 included in the proposed bond issue for HVAC improvements.
Someone in position to have considerable knowledge regarding the current condition of the Key Bank Building reported, on the condition of anonymity, that it will cost $1 million to repair roof, electrical system, elevator, and HVAC building deficiencies. Dennis Hester then came forward with a first-hand account of how Key Bank Building deficiencies in the recent past could be a reasonable indicator of future repair needs in an aging building. There is enough legitimate concern about the condition of the Key Bank Building to justify the need for a thorough inspection by a disinterested professional.
If a professional Key Bank Building inspection does indeed reveal that it will cost $1 million to repair deficiencies, then the source of repair funds and the timing of the repairs will be important factors. If $1 million were spent all at once to make needed Key Bank Building repairs, then money could be taken away from road repairs and the needs of our Sheriff’s Office – possibly triggering the imposition of a regressive Wheel Tax and/or an unneeded Public Safety Local Option Income Tax.
One additional matter that wasn't publicly discussed beforehand is how the county would manage the Key Bank Building. It takes considerable professional knowledge and experience to manage a large commercial building – to oversee on-going routine maintenance, collect rent, vet prospective tenants, and so forth. How much would it cost the county to hire a professional firm to manage the Key Bank Building?
Another disturbing factor cane to light. County Commissioner Marc Applegate stated at the April 12, 2016, Boone County Council meeting that the county would have no problem selling the newly occupied 220 West Washington Street Building if the Prosecutor’s Office were to move to the Key Bank Building. The county spent at least $962,960 to purchase and renovate the 220 West Washington Street Building to house the Prosecutor’s Office. Does anyone believe that the 12,037 square foot 220 West Washington Street Building, which is so old that the year built is not included on the property record card, can be sold at a price anywhere near $962,960? The county would likely lose hundreds of thousands of dollars if the 220 West Washington Street Building is sold.
The stated reason for the Boone County Commissioners to recommend purchasing the Key Bank Building purchase is to meet “future planning objectives” 20 to 30 years down the road. The 24-person Prosecutor’s office was moved less than 5 months ago from the Courthouse to the 220 West Washington Street building. Moving the Prosecutor’s office out of the Courthouse should free up space in the Courthouse for any new employees needed to provide services to our growing county. Just how many dozens more county employees will be needed in the foreseeable future that will not fit in our partially vacant Courthouse? Also, it is questionable that the 44 year-old Key Bank Building will be modern enough to meet “future planning objectives” 20 to 30 years from now.
The Boone County Council should have performed their due diligence and obtained detailed information about the condition of the Key Bank Building before it was purchased to become a county government center years down the road. There must be significant justification before the county purchases an aging Key Bank Building and goes into the landlord business in competition with the private sector.
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This page was last updated on 10/11/16 .