By Vinde Wells
The Ogle County Board voted last week to proceed with the purchase of an attorney’s office in the same block as the new jail.
Following a closed session March 20, the board voted to go forward with buying the Williams & McCarthy law office at 604 W. Washington St., Oregon, at a cost not to exceed $167,000.
Board chairman Kim Gouker said the property was earmarked for purchase in the county’s 50-year plan, approved several years ago.
The plan calls for buying the property adjacent to the courthouse and judicial center when it goes on the market.
“This property is in the plan,” Gouker said. “The plan will allow us to expand county facilities if needed in the future. When land becomes available we will buy it.”
The law office, once a residence, is on the southeast corner of West Washington and South Seventh Streets, and adjoins the property where the new jail will be located.
Gouker said attorney Kim Krahenbuhl will maintain his office there until he retires.
In a related matter, the board approved an agreement with Willett, Hofmann & Associates, of Dixon, for surveying and design services to relocate utilities (sewer and water mains) now under the 100 block of South Sixth Street, the new jail’s location, at a fee not to exceed $44,700.
Surveying began last week.
Gouker also recommended to the board to delay selling bonds to pay for the new jail because the county is currently in the process of contract negotiations with Orchard Hills Landfill, of Davis Junction, for host fees.
The host fees, which are paid by garbage hauling firms to dump refuse in the landfill, will be used to pay off the bonds for the new jail.
The landfill has purchased land south of its current facilities and wants to expand.
Currently, Gouker said, “The negotiations aren’t going anywhere.”
He said the county does not need to sell the bonds for the jail immediately, but should keep a close eye on interest rates, which are starting to move upward.
He said the county will have ample money to pay for the jail under the terms of the current contract with Orchard Hills.
Preliminary plans call for the breaking ground for the new 180-bed jail, with an estimated price tag of $28 million, in the fall of this year.