The Jackson County Commission discussed the next steps about what to do with the building Jackson County DHR used to be housed in at its work session Monday afternoon.
District 2 Commissioner Jason Venable said he would like to take sealed bid and look at proposals on the lease or purchase of the building. Venable said he is against getting the county’s general fund into the rental business. He said he will go with what the commission decides to do, and he is willing to look at whatever numbers come in.
He also said the commission needs to limit what the county is responsible for at the building. He suggested maintaining the HVAC system, the roof and the parking lot along with regular maintenance. He also said he would be okay with a five year renewable lease.
At the Feb. 17 work session, Commission Chairman Tim Guffey said the commission needs to make a decision on which way the commission wants to go moving forward with the building. He asked whether the commission wanted to keep it, lease it or sell the building.
District 4 Commissioner Mike Sisk asked if there were any restraints to leasing the building. County Attorney John Porter said there were no restraints. Sisk said he had spoken with some doctors in Huntsville about the building. He said he would follow up with them and see if they still had interest in it.
Venable said he would be in favor of selling the building. He said he does not see any of the county’s operation moving there because it is too far from the courthouse.
“I hate that we wound up with the building and it has wound up vacant,” said Venable. “That was not the commission’s intent.”
Venable said the county should look at getting bids to fix leaks in the roof before it starts to advertise the sale or lease of the building.
District 3 Commissioner Melinda Gilbert mentioned that the commission had discussed keeping the building in case it had to take out a loan. Venable said he did not think the county needs to be in the property or rental business. Venable said the county has a vacant property near the courthouse.
“If we’re going to move our operations, to me it would make more sense to get our capital out of that building and possibly build another building on that vacant lot,” said Venable.
Guffey agreed with Venable about the vacant lot.
“Personally, I’d like to see the building sold and take those funds and build a building [on that property]. That way we keep everything right here and more convenient for citizens,” said Guffey.