Putting a millage proposal on the Nov. 7 ballot to pay for a new Commission on Aging building will likely be voted on by county commissioners next week after changes were made to the plans.
The new plan reduced the overall size of a new building from 25,000 square feet to 22,500 square feet by narrowing the main corridor from 12 feet to 10 feet, reducing the community room from 112 feet long to 96 feet long and other smaller measures, saving approximately $500,000 on the projected cost.
Bob Van Putten, from Landmark Design Group, worked with the building committee on revisions and assured the commission the changes were made, “without impacting the critical components” of the facility. “The large room was a major reduction area,” Executive Director Tammy Pennington said. “We wanted to maintain the integrity and size of the adult services area.”
The initial plan was for a 20-year, 0.1843 millage request for a $6 million building. The exact numbers for the Nov. 7 ballot will reflect the cost savings and an adjusted millage rate.
A “Friends of the COA” committee will be formed to provide information on the project.//
“This is good news for taxpayers,” Commissioner Ben Geiger said. “I want to thank the COA board for its action on wages. It was a difficult decision, but it goes a long way toward building trust with the taxpayer.”
Geiger was talking about the county implementation of the recommendations of a recent compensation and classification study over a four year period. The COA board, which is independent of the county, approved both the compensation and classification recommendations in one year starting May 1, instead of over four years.
That gave COA employees an immediate raise and Pennington a raise of her $64,117.20 annual salary to $80,641.60 beginning May 1, and an increase of two percent until 2020.
The move caused general confusion among officials and hard feelings when the county commission asked the COA board, and some on the board said, pressured them, to take back the action and follow the four year schedule. The COA board rescinded the implementation, and put the issue to rest.
Commissioner Vivian Conner said those involved have put it the past and are moving on.