More on costs of County Office Complex plan

inyo_courthouse1.jpgAfter many years of planning and consideration, there is now little public opposition to the County Office Complex in Bishop. The Supervisors recently approved non-binding plans and finances with the news that annual payments for the building will equal around $690,000 which is roughly $330,000 more than the County now pays for Bishop office space. How do officials justify this?

County Administrator Kevin Carunchio said that now Bishop leases go up more than 4% per year and that over the decades the County will actually save as much as $37 million in costs through the new building project including rents, utilities and even personnel over time. But what about the next several years and the $330,000 additional cost if the project goes forward?

Carunchio said that Health and Human Services will take about half of the building and will pay for lease costs with state and federal dollars. He said public safety will occupy another big chunk of the building. He said the County maintains a Criminal Justice Facilities Trust which now holds over $700,000. All told, the Administrator thinks at least 75% of the additional cost is covered.

As he did at budget time, Carunchio admits tough budget times lie ahead. He said long-term, the office building will give the County control over its expenses and eventual ownership of a modern building.

Meanwhile, Carunchio says the current labor contracts that the County anticipates signing will cost County government $1.8 million more next fiscal year. He said employees have gone four years without a cost of living increase. Citizens also know about low wages during the recession since 2008 and wonder how the County will pay for increased salaries.

Carunchio feels confident the County can manage. He has called on a high profile consultant, Frank Benest, who is the former City Manager of Palo Alto, to hold a workshop with the Board and department heads on creative budget solutions. The Administrator said Inyo will “do things to avoid lay-offs.”

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The Emperor
The Emperor
9 years ago

Another comment/question about the lease lease/back arrangement. I recall that this Bishop building project was competitively bid at the front end of these discussions, but that was years ago. Now that the cost has gone up, the design has changed, and some of the details like square footage of the… Read more »

Steve
Steve
9 years ago

” Bishop leases go up more than 4% per year.” Who negotiated a lease like this? Have you seen how many vacant space for rent in Bishop? Given there is no industry in the area, the County is the only player in town for office space. As the new building… Read more »

MajorTom
MajorTom
9 years ago

I think it’s kind of crazy for the county to go on paying rent to various landlords around town who can essentially get whatever rent they want. This is taxpayer money going directly into the pockets of a few entities. The county will be around forever and it makes sense… Read more »

Mark
Mark
9 years ago
Reply to  MajorTom

Major Tom – for us regular tax paying folks it’s usually always better to build or buy then pay rent. However at the State level there are so many regulations and union influences that it cost the State or Counties four times as much to build anything then us folks… Read more »

Desert Tortoise
Desert Tortoise
9 years ago
Reply to  Mark

If the quality of your construction is as poor as that of my home, which I bought new in 2008, is indicative of what private enterprise seems to be happy to throw together, and nothing I have seen in the new housing stock tells me otherwise, buidling to private standards… Read more »

lifetime local
lifetime local
9 years ago
Reply to  MajorTom

MajorTom- I don’t know about you, but I don’t see a lot businesses standing in line to move into the offices that would be vacated when the county moves into a new expensive building. Then that leaves a lot of landlords with empty buildings, a drop in their personal income,… Read more »

Desert Tortoise
Desert Tortoise
9 years ago

This does not seem like a wise move by the county. There are too many unanswered questions, to much risk the county will not have the funds to pay the full cost of the new building for this plan to move forward at this time. Unless all of the funding… Read more »

Jeff Brown
Jeff Brown
9 years ago

Govt. Gone Wild, as for all the rest of the American People.. “Let Them Eat Cake” ­čÖé

The Emperor
The Emperor
9 years ago

Why would Inyo County employees be getting a cost of living increase when the County is is talking lay offs? That doesn’t make any sense at all. There are certainly many folks in the Eastern Sierra who would be happy with a living wage, benefits and job security like Inyo… Read more »

lifetime local
lifetime local
9 years ago

Are you kidding me???? In a county where we have to ask for community donations to build a decent animal shelter that won’t catch fire or flood annually, we’re supposed to believe that somehow magically we’ll find the additional $330,000 for a new county office building ? And I know… Read more »

Mark
Mark
9 years ago
Reply to  lifetime local

Everyone in my office including myself took a cut in pay when the economy took a down turn. It hasn’t recovered yet. I left the boots on the ground workers pay alone. Without them I can’t do anything. As to the county employees not receiving a cost of living increase,… Read more »