Monday, April 27, 2015

Oconee County Board Of Commissioners To Consider Terminating Lease On Dolvin Buildings

Agenda Item Added

The public might get at least a hint tomorrow night of county plans for handling future space needs when the Board of Commissioners considers termination of the lease on the government offices across the street from the Courthouse.

County Attorney Daniel Haygood told me in an email message this afternoon that he is anticipating the Board will give a one-year notice to the landlord that the lease will be terminated.

Dolvin Building A

The discussion of the lease for what is commonly called the Dolvin property was not on the agenda released by Deputy County Clerk Kathy Hayes on Friday afternoon but was added this morning.

The agenda also includes a public hearing on proposed amendments to the county’s Water and Wastewater Systems Ordinance and an update on the status of the Hard Labor Creek Regional Reservoir now filling in southeastern Walton County.

Executive Sessions

The Board of Commissioners has held four called meeting to go into executive session between March 9 and April 8 to discuss potential land acquisition and courthouse security.

No action was taken at the end of those meetings when the Board returned to open session.

The minutes show the Board met for 138 minutes on March 9, for 110 minutes on March 19, and for 145 minutes on March 16. The minutes for the April 8 meeting have not yet been made public.

While the Board could have discussed any number of possible purchases of land during those sessions, the most likely properties would be those that would relieve pressure on the Courthouse.

Dolvin Uses

The county has been leasing the Dolvin buildings for many years and considered purchasing them in 2011.

Ray B. Burruss Jr. of Athens is listed as the agent in the county tax records. According to those records, the current owner acquired the property from Elizabeth Dolvin in 2005.

The first building, facing North Main Street, houses the Planning Department and Code Enforcement. The second building, on First Street, provides space for the Sheriff’s Office Investigator, the Environment Health Department and the coroner.

The property is approximately 0.6 acre. The building facing Main Street was constructed in 1993, and the second building was constructed two years later.

Courthouse Pressure

The two Dolvin buildings are among the 39 owned or leased by the county.

The county is under pressure to move all administrative offices from the Courthouse itself and turn that building over entirely to judicial use.

The pressure is more intense now because the legislature has funded a fourth Superior Court Judge for Clarke and Oconee counties, and that new judge, expected to be appointed by a year from now, will be housed in Oconee County.

How the county will manage that and provide space for those offices now in the Dolvin buildings is something that might be hinted at in the discussion tomorrow night.

The meeting takes place at 7 p.m. in the Courthouse in Watkinsville.

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