Supervisor wants cost update for county office construction

Mohave County District 2 Supervisor Tom Sockwell has asked for an update on the cost of building county offices at the downtown Kingman site.

He wants to know what changes in parking needs and building costs would occur with the Mohave County Sheriff's Office removed from the site.

Sockwell has placed the financing of the county office buildings on the agenda for the Jan.

20 Board of Supervisors meeting.

"It is premature to make any decision on that site until we know more about the costs and the money that will be available to use for county offices," he said.

"I want to know all the finance options before we begin.

That will be a key part of the decision."

Sockwell said the county should have all buildings free and clear at the end of the 20-year sales tax for buildings.

He wants to know the various finance options before making the next decision on location of buildings in Kingman.

District I Supervisor Pete Byers said a "pay as we go plan" to get the most from the sales tax for buildings is a priority.

"Placing the buildings in downtown Kingman gives the county flexibility to build what we can afford, utilize some current buildings and make a planned transition from old buildings to new buildings," Byers said.

Sockwell said the least favorable option would be locating buildings in Golden Valley and take the risk of running out of money before the project is completed.

The original plan to cluster the buildings in one location is still viable in a downtown Kingman location, he said.

Finances will dictate how that will be accomplished.

Building in downtown Kingman where offices are currently located gives the county a backup position, Sockwell said.

If not all new buildings will fit within the cost parameters of the current sales tax for buildings, some could be refurbished and keep costs within budget.

Byers said the long-term plan for a campus-style cluster of county office buildings in downtown Kingman is not dead.

Moving the sheriff's building next to the jail annex on West Beale Street removes some of the parking requirements for a campus complex along Spring Street.

"We do not have enough money to build a $66 million county office complex anywhere.

I believe the total complex would cost much more than that," Byers said.

"We have options to build what we can pay for downtown and refurbish what we have to if the money is short."

Byers said the location of the sheriff's building on Beale Street has nothing to do with the location of the other buildings other than reducing parking needs.

District 3 Supervisor Buster Johnson said the master plan called for a cluster or campus of new buildings and, in his opinion, that plan is no longer being followed.

He said the original campus plan called for a $60 million set of buildings that could be financed by the one-quarter cent sales tax.

None of the sites have come within that estimate.

"You heard me asking about cost overruns at the Juvenile Detention Center at the Monday meeting," he said.

"I do not know how to stop the cost overruns.

We need to run county finances like we would the family checkbook and stay in budget."

Johnson voted for locating the sheriff's building next to the jail annex when the issue came back before the board Monday.

He put the item on the agenda voicing concerns about the site and a need for a site study.

He can bring the issue back after HDR, a planning firm, does the site and schematic study and before calling for bids because he voted on the prevailing side.

Building costs remain a concern for Johnson and stretching out construction of the new offices on a pay-as-you-go schedule would increase construction costs through inflation, he said.

The total complex could cost more than $100 million for all the buildings.

A $3.4 million per year tax collection would not pay that total, Johnson said.

The proposed campus site in downtown Kingman runs along Spring Street between Second and Sixth streets, taking a block north and a block south of Spring Street.

The first office site studied is at Shinarump and Aztec roads between Interstate 40 and State Route 68 through Golden Valley.