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Sat, Dec. 07

County secures funds for facility

KINGMAN – Mohave County on Tuesday sold $19.9 million in certificates to pay for a Phoenix contractor to build the county administration center, Finance Director John Timko said.

Timko said a nonprofit corporation set up by the county sold the certificates of participation to institutional and individual investors at an interest rate of 4.4 percent.

County officials have scheduled a groundbreaking ceremony for the building for 11 a.m.

Monday.

The expected completion date is September 2005.

The three-story, 130,000-square-foot facility at 700 W.

Beale St.

will be built on county-owned land adjoining the Mohave County Sheriff's Office.

District 1 Supervisor Pete Byers of Kingman said, "We have gone through the whole process.

We approved everything."

Byers said he will drive to Phoenix on Tuesday to sign for the closing of the certificates.

The certificates are similar to bonds that government agencies use to pay for building or improving public facilities.

Mohave County government has used the certificates to finance the water system for the Interstate 40 industrial corridor, the location of the Griffith Energy Project and for other projects.

The contractor, OPUS West of Phoenix, has assumed the financial risks for the building and will lease it to the county.

The county will own the building when the lease expires.

The $19.9 million from sale of the certificates will pay for the construction.

The annual $1.8 million lease payment for 15 years will come out of the county's sales tax building fund.

Timko said the sale of the certificates will allow the country to preserve some of the sales tax building funds for other uses.

The county supervisors in 1999 voted to approve a quarter-percent sales tax, which went into effect on Jan.

1, 2000, with the intent of raising money for new buildings.

As of the end of April, the county accumulated $12.6 million in the capital improvement fund, according to Timko.

The county hired OPUS West of Phoenix under a concept know as design/build.

The method is preferable over conventional process of hiring a architect to design a building and bidding for a contractor because the builder guarantees the prices and assumes financial risks, Timko said.

The county also will avoid contract change orders, which add to the costs of buildings.

Timko said the county also has contracted with PinnacleOne of Tempe to serve as construction manager for the project.

When completed, the county administrative center will house the offices of the assessor, treasurer, county attorney, school superintendent, county recorder, county manager, clerk of the Board of Supervisors, community development, elections, finance, public fiduciary (a division of finance), health, information technology, human resources, procurement and communications, Timko said.

The offices are currently scattered in county-owned and rented buildings in downtown and at the Mohave County Fairgrounds, where the public fiduciary is housed.

The county owns all the buildings except for the community development and procurement offices, both on Beale Street.

Timko said the supervisors will need to decide whether to sell or lease the county-owned buildings.

Byers and County Manager Ron Walker initially announced plans for the building in early 2003.

The proposal drew support from Byers and Supervisor Tom Sockwell of Bullhead City as well as Kingman city officials, who have waived the 2 percent sales tax for the sale of building materials as well as permit and inspection fees.

However, Supervisor Buster Johnson of Lake Havasu City favored vacant land that developer Fred Eldean offered to donate in the Golden Valley area.

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