Commission Update – March 2018

The work on the County’s new WEBER ROAD FACILITY (WRF) is progressing nicely. We were blessed with the donation of this wonderful building by BJC/Parkland Health Center in early 2017. Tenants in the building at present are Missouri Circuit District 24 Public Defenders, St. Francois County Community Partnership, Drug Court, Juvenile Center offices and our Morgue.

The District 24 attorneys represent the 6 Counties of Iron, Madison, Washington, Reynolds, Ste. Genevieve and St. Francois Counties. These Counties are required to supply office space for the Public Defenders on a per-capita basis. Therefore, as landlords, we receive rent money from the other five counties and we save the money we would have spent on rental.

Our new Morgue is located in the back half of the rear wing. Never before has St. Francois County had a morgue. This service is provided by a private business that performs autopsies for our and another 19 Missouri Counties. We lease space to this private business with payment made on a per-autopsy basis.

The SFC Community Partnership pays rent to our County on a monthly basis. Their offices also house Edu-care and St. Francois County Industrial Development offices.

We are now in negotiations with the Missouri Department of Mental Health. These talks should yield an additional tenant for our building. They are planning to move several offices from the Mental Health facility on the South side of Farmington to our building. This, too, will allow more efficient operations in their present facilities.

All of the above tenants generate income for the building. We are solidly “in the black” after we pay utilities, insurance and maintenance. Yes, the building makes a profit and this is only for a portion of the building.

Besides the above mentioned rented space, a significant portion of this 26,000 sq. ft. building is used for County purposes. The Juvenile Center will move 8 offices from the Juvenile Detention Center at the intersection of Karsch and 32 East. More rooms will then be available to serve troubled youth at their main location. There will be no housing in our Weber Road Facility.

Moving the Drug Court to this building released some much-needed office space in the main Court house and also relieved scheduling pressure on those court rooms. They have more area in their new offices and our large Training room will serve as their court room.

Speaking of meeting rooms, there is also a large conference room available to the tenants and County offices. The meeting rooms in our other buildings were becoming strained in their schedule and these additional rooms help.

There is still a 2,000 sq. ft. suite in the building that has not yet been assigned. We may use it for County purposes or rent it to another governmental agency. The latter would result in even more profit for the County.

We will have spent a total of less than $300,000 when finished on the building’s updates. We have modernized lighting, heating and cooling along with new décor. The things we learned with this update and the savings we are realizing with more-modern utilities have motivated us to update our other buildings along these lines are we are now realizing savings in those locations too.

So, there it is. We got this building (worth over $2.5 million) at no capitol cost and are operating it at a profit for the County. While we will spend about 12% of the value of this building for updates. The result is a beautifully modern building that should delay any need for building expansion for decades and serve us well during that time.

In case the reader is wondering, the new Weber Road Facility (WRF) is EXACTLY the same square footage as our Annex building in the center of Farmington.

Our sincerest thanks to BJC and Parkland Health Care for their generous donation and to our amazing Maintenance crew that has worked so hard to make it happen.

Incidentally, the Missouri Association of Counties gave us their 2017 State-wide EXCELLENCE IN INNOVATION AND ACHIEVEMENT for the way this whole procedure was handled and the original thought that went into it. Thank you MAC!

October 2017 – The move of the Road & Bridge Department to the new SOUTH BARN located on Woodlawn Drive West of Farmington is nearing completion.

The old location on Maple Street was battle-worn and unsafe. When the R&B Department was first located there over 60 years ago, the area was rural with very low traffic flow on that road. Now it is a bustling area with 2 day-care facilities next door, heavy traffic and surrounded by commercial properties.

Our daily movement of dump trucks, large trailers, and heavy equipment only added to the congestion and unsafe conditions of that area. Also, the building was nearing the end of its useful life. Major repairs would soon be needed if we remained at that location.

For the 3 previous years, money had been added to the budget for the eventual purchase of another location. That site was finally found next door to the sale barn on Woodlawn Drive. Existing buildings made the choice a simple one and we were able to purchase the property without added debt to the County due to this previous budgetary planning.

Those buildings have been updated with plumbing, electricity, insulation, etc. and are now extremely functional for us. The old location had one desk that was used by 4 people (those people literally sat around that one desk)! Now we have enough office space that everyone in the office can have their own desk. We have better parts storage areas and better lighting for the work areas.

An example of the problems that were encountered in the old location is interior truck storage space. When bad weather is about to hit, the crew prepares as many trucks with salt and sand as possible in order to get a quick start for the long night ahead. However, the trucks must be stored in a heated area or the load will freeze in the dump bed and become unusable.

We could only put 2 trucks inside at the old barn. Now 2 or 3 times that many can be prepared and ready when the storm hits. We can also get the trucks inside to melt the accumulated ice during a storm and then get them back into service quickly.

A fuel depot has been added to the South Barn location. Now we can fuel several trucks at the same time without a long line of waiting drivers. Also, a stand-by generator is available for power outages. Previously, we could not pump fuel into our equipment it there was no electricity. This fuel depot has a computerized monitoring system that records how much fuel goes into which truck or equipment and which operator pumps it.

The new location is more efficient, safe, and secure. The citizens of St. Francois County are well served in our move.