Commissioners Moving Milam Forward
This week the Commissioners Court took a big step forward by approving an interim lease for the former Little River Hospital complex, with an option to buy the complex by the end of the year. This will provide a state-of-the-art facility for county administration, one-stop shopping for the public and a long-term tax savings.
The court has been working on this project for months using careful due diligence to make sure we are doing the right thing for the County. Stan Graves of Architexas is preparing the final set of plans for renovation, which should be complete by Dec. 1, 2019. Once in hand, we will send the plans out for construction bids. We anticipate the cost of construction to be about $80 per square foot for the 34,000-square-foot building, which equates to about $3 million in renovation costs. However, the cost of new construction is about $250 per square foot and thus 34,000-square-foot of new construction would cost about $8.5 million. Thus, there is a substantial cost savings by taking advantage of the existing structure.
The renovated facility will reduce the ever-increasing maintenance cost of our nine older downtown buildings. The new facility will be equipped with state-of-the-art climate control and thus reduce our monthly utility costs. Our phone and information technology costs will be reduced as well by eliminating duplicate services. The 8.4-acre facility will give the county room for new construction as our county services increase. This can all be done without increasing the tax rate!
The move from will give downtown Cameron a chance to grow and come alive. In fact, investors are already looking at the area and at least two non-county buildings have been sold. Both buildings will be renovated and one will be a bed and breakfast. This gives the beautiful downtown square the opportunity to again be a vibrant, bustling area. It will provide additional tax sales and ad valorem tax revenues for the city and the county.
Common sense dictates that we take advantage of what we have. The county needs better space for its operations and the space is available. It just makes sense to save taxpayer dollars. It just makes sense to give the taxpayers one stop shopping for County business. It just makes sense to plan ahead and have room to grow. Thus, your Commissioners Court has taken a big step in the right direction to move Milam County forward!