Commissioners took steps this week to choose a “payment plan” of sorts for a new Hardin County Annex Building. The current Annex is more than 60 years old and has several needs including mold remediation issues.
By a 4-1 vote, commissioners decided to pay off about half the construction costs of the new Annex by issuing Certificates of Obligation, and paying off the balance from the county surplus budget.
The vote came in on Monday, May 2nd in a special meeting. Commissioners, with the benefit of an Audit Report, voted against an option to put a bond election before the voters of the county.
Precinct 3 Commissioner Ken Pelt made the motion to use the two-layered financing approach as opposed to asking for more tax money from voters.
Construction itself will top $1.6 million. The fees for the architects and construction managers will raise the total to $2 million. LaBiche Architectural Group and Daniels Building & Construction will be responsible for the work at the Annex.
Precinct 2 Commissioner Chris Kirkendall voted against the Pelt motion, saying he owed it to the voters to decide for themselves.
“I made a commitment to my citizens to give them an opportunity to vote on what the county decided to do. And so I’ve been approached by quite a few people to let them decide… I felt like I needed to stand by my commitment,” Kirkendall told the Lumberton Ledger.
Kirkendall says because of the current climate with interest rates, he does not see a major downside to the issuing of certificates, but wants the decision to fully be in the hands of the voter.
Hardin County citizens interested in learning more about the plan should attend the Monday, May 9th regular commissioners meeting. A vote to approve the plan is expected to be voted up or down at that meeting. Judge Wayne McDaniels says he is pleased with the outcome of the votes by the Commissioners Court to fund the new Annex Building. And that “they’ve” spent a considerable amount of time thinking and planning about this vote.
“I feel we made the right decision for the employees and the citizens of Hardin County. Although we voted to issue Certificates of Obligation to finance half of the project, we did not completely take that decision away from the citizens.” McDaniels continues, “ The Public will have opportunities to voice any concerns at Public Hearings, which will be announced through the media, social media and on our website (www.co.hardin.tx.us) once those are scheduled. The Departments housed in the Annex Building provide important services to the citizens of Hardin County, and I look forward to those facilities being housed in a better environment in the near future,” said McDaniels.