County’s New Administrative Building to Open in June

The fruits of a quarter-cent sales tax initiative approved by Randolph County voters in April of 2014 should be revealed this June when the grand opening of a new administrative building in Huntsville to encompass all county government offices under one roof becomes a reality.

This subject was part of the  “State of the Country” address delivered Jan. 25 to the Randolph County Pachyderm Club’s monthly meeting by Randolph County Presiding Commissioner John Truesdell.

“Our county is incredibly strong. I bet there are people in other counties who would like to be in our shoes right now. I can look into peoples’ eyes and tell them with confidence telling them that our county is strong, and it’s something I’m very proud to say,” said Truesdell during last Thursday afternoon’s commissioner’s meeting held at the courthouse in Huntsville. “We are doing a lot of good things and putting into practice smart financial and operating decisions for the people of this county, and its being done by the people we have in every county department office. Our employees have worked very hard to find ways to cut operating costs while making their jobs more efficient and useful to the people that we all serve.”

Truesdell was very jubilant last Thursday when he talked about both the fiscal state of the county government and sharing an update on a handful of projects that are listed on the county’s agenda for the fiscal 2016-year.

He first began boasting and expressing how proud he was about the county government earning an ‘A+’ issuer credit rating in March of 2015 by Standard & Poor’s Rating Services on the overall financial condition of the county.

“Our county ended its recent fiscal year in the black once again. In 2014 we were able to carry over a considerable amount of money that year. Because of good business practices undertaken by every county official and department, the county itself saved a lot of money to carry that forward,” Truesdell said. “With this money we were able to build our emergency reserve fund to be about $1 million. Unless something catastrophic happens, we have enough money in this reserve fund to operate our county for a somewhat significant period of time, and rebuild critical things to keep moving forward.”

“We know it’s not the job of government to make money or to be profitable. We are ones that want to be able to generate enough revenue in order to provide the kind of best services that we can for our county residents, and manage those situations in the best manner than we can without putting too much of a tax burden upon the people. I think you will find our county government is very conservative when it comes to finances.”

The 12-year sales tax supports the construction of the new 33,000 square-foot building with three floors has an estimated cost of $4.9 million. It is being built under the direction of Little Dixie Construction Co. of Columbia immediately north of the $7.8 million Justice Center that opened in the summer of 2005.

Truesdell said while there has been 53 days of delayed work due to inclement weather issues, all other issues associated with the construction of the new administration building is both on budget and on schedule.

This new facility will bring together all of the county offices in one building. Currently, county government offices are scattered at several building locations in Moberly with offices also located in Cairo and Huntsville.

Because of the weather delays, the first phase of completion is pushed back to the month of June when all offices will relocate its business to the new facility.

A second phase of this construction project is expected to be completed 60 days later and involves the construction of a wing that will connect the administrative building to the Justice Center.

Truesdell said having all government offices under one roof will greatly save the county finances in a variety of ways as well as making daily business work flow more efficient, and it will greater meet and serve the public needs. Internet services and other technology will be upgraded throughout the building, and there will be added security measures such as coded locked doorways and a video surveillance system in each hallway and office location.

There will be a courtroom added to the first floor and a court hearing room on the second.

“It is possible for our county to hold three courts at the same time if this is ever needed. I think this is something that is very crucial and great benefit to the county. We have had days in which there has been 200 cases presented in one court day here. It’s incredible of the work load we have with our court system,” said Truesdell. “Crime is the number one expenditure of any county government, and it’s something that cannot be predicted so it makes it all the more difficult to financially plan for when it comes to making annual budget. It has a huge price tag attached to it.”