Cozy quarters could cost Hamilton County $11.5M

July 9, 2013
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An outside consultant is evaluating options for relieving the space crunch at the Hamilton County Government & Judicial Center, and officials hope to begin construction next year.

But first, they have to figure out the best location for the new offices.

County commissioners want to move the auditor, assessor, treasurer, recorder and surveyor operations to free up space for a growing court system.

Among the possibilities: adding on to the existing government center in downtown Noblesville (the intent when it was constructed in 1992) and building a facility on county-owned land east of State Road 37 (an option that has created a stir among downtown boosters).

Indianapolis-based Architura Corp. is conducting a feasibility study, and commissioners are asking the County Council to earmark up to $11.5 million for the project.

The elected bodies conducted a joint meeting Monday to discuss funding priorities for as much as $58.5 million in bonds expected to be issued to replace debt coming off the county’s books in 2013 and 2014.

Commissioners want the seven-member council—the county’s fiscal body—to hold off on issuing all the bonds until they can work the office-space puzzle and put together a funding proposal.

“These needs are pressing and we need to resolve them,” Commissioner Christine Altman said.

Also on the commissioners’ wish list:

— $9.9 million for public safety equipment
— $9.2 million for communications software
— $6.9 million for bridge projects
— $4 million for highway department facilities
— $3.2 million for a video surveillance system at the jail
— $3.1 million for buildings and grounds maintenance
— $2.6 million to update the fiber ring connecting county buildings and municipalities
— $2 million to complete the RiverWalk path along the White River
— $1.6 million for parks’ department projects and land acquisition
— $1.2 million for a multi-use storage facility for the highway department, emergency management agency and sheriff’s department
 
Council President Brad Beaver said members will review the requests this month.

A proposed timetable laid out by county attorney Mike Howard suggested the council introduce ordinances in August in order to conduct public hearings and sell bonds before the end of the year.

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