Mohave County seeks morgue land; project could cost $1M or more
1/23/2014 6:02:00 AM
By Kim Steele
KINGMAN - If local landowners have property to sell, lease or donate for a new county morgue, the Mohave County Board of Supervisors wants to hear from them.
The board is actively seeking proposals from firms or individuals interested in providing land to house the county's medical examiner operation. Proposals are due by 2 p.m. Feb. 11 at the Mohave County Procurement Department, 700 W. Beale St.
Proposal requirements and forms are available online by clicking on the bid opportunities section and the "Purchase, lease or donation of land for county morgue" listing at www.mohavecounty.us.
"There may be people interested in donating land to the county or selling it at a really good price, and if that's the case, we'll definitely take a look at it," said Supervisor Joy Brotherton, District 4.
The board voted in December to delay action for 90 days on determining where to place the county's medical examiner operation and whether to bring it in-house in 2015.
The board agreed to take proposals from the public for land and buildings after receiving information from several property owners who are interested in either selling or giving space to the board for a morgue and office.
The board must make a decision soon because the current contract with Dr. Rexenne Worrell expires in 2015. She runs her medical examiner business out of an office in the 1100 block of Aviation Drive in Lake Havasu City. Currently, the county pays about $525,000 annually for Worrell's services.
Supervisor Steve Moss, District 5, said renting, building or remodeling a building for a county morgue would cost between $1 million to $1.7 million for the initial outlay, and the county would pay about $800,000 a year to fund the medical examiner's services in-house. That amounts to about $300,000 more annually than what Mohave County currently spends.
Both Moss and Brotherton have said they do not support shelling out the $1 million or more for a building when the county has several it already owns that could be used for less money. They also agreed that opening up the floor to donations or inexpensive sales of existing buildings could be beneficial for the county.
Currently, there is no budget appropriation associated with the project, and there may not be funds available in the future.
Supervisor Buster Johnson, District 3, said he understands the concerns voiced by Moss and Brotherton but has heard from many people that the county's numbers are skewed high.
Johnson said contracting with neighboring counties to handle their services can offset some of the costs, and he believes the county can maintain costs and quality better with an in-house department.
Proposals must include photographs of the property, existing title insurance, a plat or recent survey, a site plan and vicinity map of the property and a price proposal. Other evaluation criteria include property improvements, site access, current zoning, availability of utilities and fire protection, traffic and social impact, and proximity to population centers.
For more information, contact senior procurement officer Tara Acton at (928) 753-0752, ext. 3, or firstname.lastname@example.org.