~by Janice Harbaugh for GreeneCountyNewsOnline
The Greene County board of supervisors discussed possible acquisition of the Midland Power administration building located on E. Lincoln Way in Jefferson at their regular meeting May 4. Midland is moving to a new administrative office in Boone County; the Jefferson building will be available July 1.
Chair John Muir and county sheriff Jack Williams toured the building, which sits on 11 acres. Both were impressed with the potential for using the building as a law enforcement center.
Muir said, “It’s a well-built structure. It would fit the needs (of law enforcement administration) and save the taxpayers money in the long run.”
The need for a new jail has been discussed many times over the past years. “We’re just sliding by with the state inspectors,” said Muir. “A new jail will have to be built to meet state requirements.”
The cost of building a new jail is borne entirely by the county and would require a bond issue. The Midland building would be used for administration and lessen the total cost of a new law enforcement complex. A new jail could be built at the site.
“It would be a $4 million savings as opposed to new construction,” said Muir.
“The building could also be a designated area for the courthouse if needed,” Muir said.
“We can’t buy land and build for the asking price. It’s a good opportunity for us,” supervisor Dawn Rudolph said.
Midland’s asking price for the 11 acres and brick building was not stated publicly at the board meeting but was available to the board members.
All board members indicated Muir should visit with Midland and report back to the board about moving forward.
In other business, county attorney Thomas Laehn spoke about the current 28E agreement with the city of Jefferson approved May 25, 2000, concerning the animal shelter. Laehn said amendments to the agreement are necessary to bring it up to date and meet current legal requirements.
The county shares operational expenses of the animal shelter with the city of Jefferson. The county share has been $1,500. The resolution adopting amendments to the animal shelter 28E agreement increases the county contribution to a maximum of $6,000.
The board also unanimously approved the resolution needed to close a portion of 243rd St as the road is moved to allow expansion of a runway at the municipal airport.
These road closures will be in effect until construction is completed as determined by the county engineer.
Muir reported on an Emergency Operations Center (EOC) meeting he had attended. It was decided the courthouse will remain closed to the public until May 18 when closure will be reviewed. He gave no indication of the reason for the decision. The east lobby is now open for absentee/early voting in the June 2 primary election.
All supervisors were physically present in the board room for the May 4 meeting, along with several county officials, but the total number of people present was fewer than 10. Media and the public again attended the meeting through Zoom.