JUDGE: County making progress on renovation to new Annex
Renovation began on the new Milam County Annex on June 1, 2021.
Substantial progress has been made and the project is about 80 percent complete. We hope to complete the 35,000 square foot renovation by April 1, 2022.
The new Annex will provide one stop shopping for all Milam County residents for just about all County services, including the County Clerk, the Tax Assessor Collector (paying taxes), the District Attorney, Texas A&M Agri-Life Extension office, Texas Workforce Solutions, The Hop Transportation office, Adult Probation, Juvenile Probation, the Milam County Treasurer, Auditor, Human Resources and Bea’s Kitchen.
Payment for the renovation is being made by a $4.7 million, 80-20 percent grant from the Economic Development Administration (EDA). This means EDA will pay approximately $3.75 million and the County will pay approximately $940,000 to renovate the building. Obviously, this saves the taxpayer $3.75 million, while providing a new, convenient and professional place of business for county services.
Consolidation of the county offices and equipment will result in substantial savings to county government. In fact, the phone and data line consolidation alone will result in an estimated savings of $250,000 per year. We are installing solar panels at the back of the complex to provide electricity to power the entire project. The panels will cost about $475,000 and are included as an “in kind” portion of the 20 percent match. This means the cost of solar is included in our required match. In other words, we don’t pay the match and then pay for the solar, as solar is a part of the match.
We estimate that the electricity costs for the Annex will be about $10,000 per month. This means the cost of the solar is paid for in about four years. The panels have a lifetime expectancy of 25 years, which means the panels will provide our electricity without charge for 21 years. This is a cost savings of approximately $2.5 million.
We have installed the most advanced fiber with triple redundancy, which means we will no longer be down if a cable is cut.
Recently, when the ATT cable was cut, many County services were simply out of service, until the cable was repaired. With triple redundancy, we have backups. The Annex has the most advanced power saving equipment and LED lighting for additional savings.
We estimate the savings of the phones, data and solar to be $8.7 million over the next 25 years. Considering the fact that we have a $3.7 million grant for the renovation and the cost of solar is included in our match, county government is saving approximately $13 million. Not only is this project consolidating services and providing convenient one stop shopping, but it is also keeping county taxes low!