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County budget contains $5.1 million for two new buildings

This preliminary drawing shows the new sheriff’s administration building being built on the northeast corner of the property. The existing building is in the northwest corner.
This preliminary drawing shows the new sheriff’s administration building being built on the northeast corner of the property. The existing building is in the northwest corner.

Two new buildings are part of Ogle County's proposed $39.1 million budget for next year.

The Long Range Capital Expense plan includes a new sheriff's administration building for an estimated $4.1 million and a highway department equipment storage building for $1 million.

The county board got a look at the 2014 budget Monday night at a special meeting. The new fiscal year begins Dec. 1.

County board chairman Kim Gouker, Byron, told board members and department heads to look over the 30-page document and contact him with questions or revisions.

He said the board will likely vote on the final version of the budget when it meets on Nov. 19.

Sheriff Michael Harn said that the new administration building will replace the two-story brick structure that now houses the sheriff's department at 103 Jefferson St., Oregon.

A leaky roof, old wiring, and an inefficient heating and cooling system are just a few of the problems that plague the century-old building.

The new one-story building will be located east of present structure. Plans call for the old building to be demolished once the new one is completed.

The area where the current building sits will then be freed up for parking or future expansion.

"The plan gives the county options in years to come. If they want to expand, they can expand to the west," Harn said.

He said Tuesday that two preliminary drawings for the new building were submitted by Saavedra Gelhausen Architects, Rockford, this summer, and changes are being made to one of the options.

The architects are currently working on final plans so that the project can be let for bids, hopefully early next year.

Offices for the coroner and his staff were added to the plan, Harn said. The coroner's office is presently on the third floor of the Ogle County Courthouse.

Harn said once the plan is completed by the architects and approved by the county board, bids for the building's construction will be sought.

He said he hopes construction will begin in the spring.

The county board voted to hire Saavedra Gelhausen Architects on Nov. 20, 2012 and to spend $158,000 for the firm to draw up a design for the new building.

County Engineer Curtis Cook said the highway department's new building will be used to store heavy equipment, some of which currently sits outside.

The 90-foot by 150-foot building will have a concrete foundation and steel frame and will be located at the highway department headquarters at 1989 Ill. 2 South, Oregon.

Cook said bids for the project will be let in January with construction set to begin in March.

He said plans call for the building to be completed by July 1, and after that parking areas will be redone to ensure that water drains away from the buildings.

Gouker said Monday night that the money to pay for both buildings will come from the Long Range Planning Fund.

Revenues in that fund come from the host fees paid by garbage collection firms to dump refuse in the landfills within the county.

The fees bring approximately $3 million per year in the county's coffers.

According to the budget, the Long Range Planning Fund, which is earmarked for major capital projects, is projected to start the new fiscal year with a balance of $13 million.

Gouker drew the board's attention to a newly established fund in the proposed budget.

The County Vehicle Revolving Purchase Fund has been set up, he said, because the sheriff's department has requested several new vehicles.

Board member Greg Sparrow, Rochelle, said revenue for the fund will come from the Long Range Planning Fund.

He said he believes that is an appropriate use of the money because vehicles are long-term assets.

Sparrow said $250,000 will be transferred from the Long Range Planning Fund to the new fund each year for the next four years.

The county currently owns 110 to 115 vehicles, 54 of which are the sheriff's department's, he said.

Sparrow said all county departments can borrow from the new fund to buy vehicles, and will be required to pay the money back into the fund over a four to five-year period.

"These are big ticket items," Gouker said. "They can make a big dent in your budget if you have to pay it back all in one year."

He said Harn requested 10 new vehicles, but only six were approved for 2014. Others may be purchased in subsequent years, he said.

The proposed budget shows projected expenditures of $170,000 in the new vehicle fund.

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