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County preparing to rearrange some chairs –

I don’t think they are rearranging the deck chairs on the Titanic, but they are preparing to rearrange some chairs.

Rumors spread — and by that, I mean The Landmark has heard about it from multiple sources — Tuesday morning that county officials have big new plans for office housing for some county officials. The biggest impact is that it appears that the new Platte County Sheriff’s Department headquarters will become the Platte County resource center. As you may or may not know, the Platte County Resource Center is a county-owned building located at 11724 NW Plaza Circle, Kansas City, MO. 64153, east of I-29 at the KCI airport exit.

County officials are quick to say the sheriff’s department move isn’t official yet, but. . .county officials have notified current agencies that are resource center tenants have 90 days to find new housing. Looks like it’s a done deal. It’s not likely that kind of communication would have been given if county officials weren’t sure this is the direction they’re going.

“We’re going to move some departments,” Scott Fricker, the committee chair, confirmed to me in a telephone conversation Tuesday. Some of the moves will be for increased public access while some of the moves are due to overcrowding, Fricker said. “The sheriff is going to the resource center because he is crammed into his current space (in the administration building in Platte City). He grew up out of that space. The resource center will allow (the sheriff’s department) to increase space over the next 15 to 20 years,” Fricker said. The prosecutor’s office, which recently took over space previously used as county commission offices while retaining its offices in the courthouse, will then take over the space the sheriff’s office used in the administration building. “This will allow him (the prosecutor’s office) to grow for 15 to 20 years,” Fricker said.

A question I should have asked but haven’t yet: Does this mean that the county commissioners will have room to once again have office space in the Administration Building? Why is it necessary. Taxpayers deserve to know that there is an office they can walk into to visit their county commissioners, or at least leave some sort of business card for the commissioners if they are not present at the time.

The previous county commissioner who presided did not consider it important that the commissioners were present in the administration building. This is bad public policy and hopefully Fricker will see fit to correct it.

Another move to be made in the near future, according to my conversation with Fricker, is that the county is looking to relocate the County Collector’s Office to the first floor of the Administration Building from its current location in a corner on the second floor. of the building. The collector’s office is the busiest of any office in the county and therefore should be easily accessible by taxpayers who want to come and pay their bills, Fricker indicated, and he’s not wrong about that.

“It’s the office most used by the public and currently the hardest to find,” Fricker pointed out to me on Tuesday.

Fricker noted that the rigging and building improvements are being brought to the fore in large part by the approximately $20 million the county has at its disposal in federal ARPA money. As you recall, ARPA is the American Rescue Plan Act that was passed by Congress and signed into law by President Biden in March of 2021. It was part of the federal government’s plan “to accelerate the country’s recovery from the economic and health crisis “. effects of the COVID-19 pandemic and the ongoing recession,” the feds told us.

Fricker said the county’s goal is to use the money primarily to eliminate problems with the county’s buildings (the county courthouse needs new windows, the resource center needs a new roof, the HVAC systems need be replaced, etc.) and to make the county more efficient and user-friendly.

A final report from an architect is expected in a couple of weeks, Fricker said.

Some local organizations currently use the Platte County Resource Center as their meeting space. If the sheriff’s department takes over the building, things are going to have to change.

“We have notified groups using it that they should make plans for another space. Some groups may want to use the county commissioner’s meeting room on the second floor of the Administration Building,” said Joe Vanover, second district county commissioner. “Others may find better facilities for their meetings.”

Vanover said the county wants to use a large portion of the ARPA funds “for capital investments and physical facility modifications to public facilities responding to COVID-19 and for mitigation measures to prevent COVID-19 in congregated within-facility settings.” public”. Vanover, like Fricker, said a final decision on moving the sheriff’s department “has not been made, but as we’re moving in that direction, we’re taking the preliminary steps to make that possible.”

Sports fans, I’ve noticed an interesting potential futures bet if you’re into that stuff. Right now you can get the Kentucky Wildcats up 40-1 to win the NCAA title. It might be worth investing some pizza money on that one. Get it early for the highest potential payout, as those odds will decrease if/when Kentucky beats Kansas on Saturday night.

I don’t know about my fellow Chiefs fans, but I’m not at all confident in our team’s chances against the Bengals this weekend. And Mahomes’ injury has nothing to do with it. I would have predicted a Cincy win even with a healthy Mahomes. I wouldn’t mind being wrong about this prediction, of course.

(Foley will be rearranging some chairs at The Landmark, which means he’ll finally get employees to give him the comfy one. Email him at [email protected])

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