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Relocation of county's administrative offices moves closer

By DAWNE LEIKER

dleiker@dailynews.net

At Monday night's regular meeting, Ellis County commissioners signed a lease agreement and awarded a demolition contract for buildings at 22nd and Vine, bringing the county one step closer to relocation of its administrative offices.

The lease agreement, signed by commissioners unanimously, states Commerce Bank will lease the building it occupies at 718 Main for $1 from Ellis County for the entire term of its lease, which is not to exceed one year from the date of the lease signing.

The agreement further states Commerce Bank retains the right to extend the term for six months by written notice to Ellis County.

Commissioners questioned the length of the lease term during past commission meetings, and Commissioner Dean Haselhorst pointed out one section of the lease stated "time is of the essence of this lease," while another section allowed 18 months for the lease term.

"I don't think that's what they want," County Administrator Greg Sund said, addressing a concern Commerce Bank might delay construction. "I think they want to get in the building, and I think if something goes wrong, they want the extra time. ... But that's not their intention."

Commissioners also approved a bid of $85,300 from M&D Excavating for demolition of county buildings at 22nd and Vine.

Efforts to relocate county offices to the Commerce Bank building have been in the works nearly a year and came to light when commissioners signed a letter of intent in June to purchase the Commerce Bank building at 718 Main in exchange for $1 million cash and the county's property at 22nd and Vine.

For more than a decade, administrative and law enforcement center space needs have been a county concern. The move of administrative offices to 718 Main will allow the Ellis County Courthouse to became a dedicated law enforcement and court facility.

In other business, commissioners:

* Reviewed a draft of a road development policy and road construction standards.

* Were apprised of priority public works projects by Public Works Director Mike Graf.

* Authorized Graf to advertise for bids for processing approximately 6,000 tons of asphalt millings.

* Authorized signatures on a memorandum of understanding with United Way of Ellis County regarding authority of the Care Council and appointment of county representatives to the Care Council.

* Tabled action on the purchase of mobile radios until May 7.

* Gave approval for Sund to distribute a request for proposals for architectural firms for the Ellis County Emergency Management/Rural Fire Building, Commerce Bank Building, 601 Main office building and the Ellis County Courthouse.

* Approved advertising for bids for roof replacement at 601 Main.