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Ellis County makes plans to move

By RANDY GONZALES

rgonzales@dailynews.net

In June 2011, Ellis County commissioners signed a letter of intent to purchase the Commerce Bank building at 718 Main in exchange for $1 million cash and county property located at 22nd and Vine.

The county had been battling space needs for more than a decade. With the purchase of the bank building, the county planned to move offices there from the courthouse.

It has been estimated renovations at 718 Main would cost $670,000. In addition, renovations estimated at $330,000 are planned at the health department at 601 Main, but there has not been an estimate since 2010.

Renovations at 718 Main and 601 Main likely would be paid for in the county's budget, and not part of a proposed 0.5-percent sales tax.

The county would relocate seven offices to 718 Main. Making the move would be Ellis County administrator, clerk, appraiser, treasurer, register of deeds, information technology and environmental/planning and zoning. All of the offices would be located on the main floor, except for information technology and environmental/planning and zoning, which would be in the basement. Also in the basement would be the commission meeting room, which also could be a general meeting room.

"I think it's laid out better for ability to work together and for the public to seek the services of the county," Sund said.

Commerce Bank is leasing out office space on the second floor at its 718 Main location. Sund said that wouldn't change. Leasing out office space would help pay for operating costs, he said.

Sund said it was too early in the process to provide a timeline for when county offices could be relocated.