County OKs facility expansion plan - Coeur d'Alene Press: Local News

County OKs facility expansion plan

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Posted: Wednesday, November 21, 2012 12:00 am

The Kootenai County commissioners voted unanimously on Tuesday to adopt the multi-million dollar facilities master plan, with the understanding that there will be many steps yet to implementing it.

"This is almost a formality, as we come up with plans on where do we go from here?" said Commissioner Dan Green, following a public hearing on the plan at the administration building.

The three elected officials agreed the adoption only establishes that they will rely on the plan to determine what proposed structural expansions and new buildings to pursue for the county.

"In the next month or two, we've scheduled time for strategic planning, and this definitely falls into strategic planning," Green said. "We can bring forward ideas."

NAC Architecture prepared the facilities master plan, outlining the long-term facility needs for 19 county departments. A handful of facilities, like the airport and jail, were not included.

The plan offers four different options for new structures and remodeling: The first would cost $28.3 million, the second $34.9 million, the third $36.4 million and the final $42.6 million.

Some proposals include a new, several-level parking garage on Northwest Boulevard, a new justice building on Garden Avenue, and an expansion of the administration building on Government Way.

The fourth and most costly plan, which was not recommended by NAC Architecture, proposes relocating all justice facilities next to the jail, at the county fairgrounds.

The only individual who commented at the public hearing was Linda Rider, chair of the North Idaho Fair board.

She requested the commissioners not pursue the fourth option, as the facilities master plan doesn't address the cost of relocating the fairgrounds.

"We feel it's the best place for our community," Rider said of the current location on Government Way, adjacent to the jail.

She presented stats estimating that replacing the fairgrounds would cost $27 million.

That doesn't include land, she added.

"That's just the square footage of our buildings," Rider said.

Commissioner Jai Nelson noted that the commissioners have already harvested community input on the plan, after holding an open house and making presentations to local organizations like the Coeur d'Alene Chamber.

No county officials have voiced opposition to the plan, she said. Judges have pressed on the need for more courtrooms, especially to accommodate a new magistrate judge expected soon.

The commissioners have assured that whatever proposals in the plan they pursue, nothing will be paid for without approval from the voters.

Commissioner Todd Tondee emphasized that though the commissioners adopted the plan on Tuesday, they were not selecting what option in the plan they will choose.

"We're just accepting the document as a tool we would use in the future," Tondee said.

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  • JoeIdaho posted at 10:32 pm on Sat, Nov 24, 2012.

    JoeIdaho Posts: 2841

    Tim, for someone trying to get elected, that was by far one of the dumbest things you could have POSSIBLY said.

    You sound EXACTLY like the liberals that come here always trying to make bigger government and more importantly, you sound JUST liek them in terms oflooking down condescendingly on your citizens.

    Simple reality is just that, Herzog; you're for larger government, spending big piles of money, and you think it's all good because your plan is an "alternative".
    As to the county employees, yes, there are PLENTY in Kootenai County that should be canned, if you ACTUALLY dug into it, you'd find that ALL of the Building & Planning Dept people that were hired for the rush of 05 & 6 are still there, and when they have nothing to do, they go out on "enforcement" to ensure "enforcement" of the ordinances, which is basically code for "write some tickets & bring home more money for Tim to spend".
    But WHY should you look into it when it's easier to make ignorant comments about those concerned about it?

    On the "zony stuff", yes, it's a HUGE issue, and again, you're a million miles form being in any way connected to it. I know a lot of people that have extreme issues with the new Master Plan, but again, for you; it's better to look at them as idiots than to address their concerns.

    So go ahead, Tim. Keep on spouting what amounts to liberal mantra here, keep up the good work telling us all how stupid we are for having LEGITIMATE issues with government spending, over-zoning, and for sure keep on letting us know how you think of us all as hicks and fools.

    You're going to have a hard time getting elected to anything, and I'm one of the ones who'll vote for anybody but you, while I MAKE SURE that anyone getting ready to vote understands clearly that last post you made. It's THAT kind of attitude with the public that has our entire country in the morass it will stay in.

  • concernedcitizen posted at 3:52 pm on Sat, Nov 24, 2012.

    concernedcitizen Posts: 2530

    The jail, Sheriffs dept AND fair grounds should be up by the airport. Who cares if jailbirds have to listen to air traffic. Get it up there before houses are built. Trade the land with a developer since the land is worth more where it's currently located. AND...... it is in city limits. Build as big and as dense as you want.

  • Tim Herzog posted at 7:25 am on Sat, Nov 24, 2012.

    Tim Herzog Posts: 392

    OK Joe...I really want your vote.

    If elected, I gonna fire all dem worthless county employees dat just sit around all day and cost us taxes. Ok, now dats done we get rid of all that zony stuff and rules. If my neighbor don't like my new fangled outhouse tough I'm gonna just let my like my pigs run over to his place. ...must be one of dem big city Californy folks. Probably don't like pork neither.

    Annie, kwik get me my doublebarrel, someone from the government is comin up the road. I gonna show them AGENDY 21 folks what fer. Oh wait, I hear dem black helycopters comin....

  • JoeIdaho posted at 3:56 pm on Fri, Nov 23, 2012.

    JoeIdaho Posts: 2841

    The city AND county set themselves up for massive growth during 05-06, they TOTALLY went hog wild on budgets, hiring, and NEVER firing.
    Now, that being said, the idea that we need to "plan for the future" which is literally codeword for "plan to spend tens of millions more taxpayer dollars" is ludicrous, and you're for it, regardless if yuo call it an "alternative" or not. The planning department is getting ready for a tremendous fight over their "Master Plan"; citizens are in uproar about the new "zoning" and if you build a house, you have to have (2) septic fields, JUST IN CASE one fails. The roads have cameras on them, on Hwy 95, at every light, and there's a war going on now over "impact fees", a California invention, brought here by liberals crusading as conservatives.
    IF you want to be elected, start talking about REAL reform; but as long as you talk about "alternatives", you'll never get mine.

  • Tim Herzog posted at 7:35 am on Fri, Nov 23, 2012.

    Tim Herzog Posts: 392

    Joe Idaho...

    Everyone is entitled to their own opinions! Sorry that I also have some of my own. I am trying to offer some alternatives, not just be against everything as you seem to be.

    Changes are definitely needed in the future to help with the overcrowding at the County facilities, alleviate parking issues and deal with the overcrowding and needed hard space at the jail. Have you ever toured those facilities and understand what is going on? Do you know that that department spends upward of $900,000/year to ship out prisoners to other facilities because of lack of necessary space?

    Kootenai County expects more growth over the next 20 years and proper planning with an eye on the future is necessary. Keeping our head in the sand is not an option. We can either part of the problem or part of the solution!

  • JoeIdaho posted at 7:11 am on Fri, Nov 23, 2012.

    JoeIdaho Posts: 2841

    Your idea versus theirs (both insane) are to spend literally money that (A) we don't have and on "facilities" that (B) we don't need.

    You want to move the Fairgounds, install an undergorund tunnel, and make a "world class" fairgrounds that will "generate more money", which is NOT what the fairs are supposed to BE about.

    The reason I'm not voting for you is because you ARE for spending a LOT MORE of MY money. The property that the county buildings are in right now is not so overly valuable; it's not waterfront, it will always have high traffic from NW Hwy, making it HARD to develop.

  • Tim Herzog posted at 6:16 am on Fri, Nov 23, 2012.

    Tim Herzog Posts: 392

    First of all, i don't what you are reading? I am against the current plan by the commissioners, not in favor of it!

    The idea of a new fairgrounds locations was considered many years ago. Not my idea originally. The rest of this possible plan came from many county employees who made suggestions. Who better than to listen to the people that actually work there?

    The downtown property the county owns is a valuable resource and would lend itself better to what is already down there, professional offices, high end condo's, restaurants and tourism. The government offices located right downtown in a congested area is a problem now. Just try to find a parking space there on a normal day!

    Now, this proposed master plan if followed through, will cost upwards to 50M, just adds more congestion and buildings on a small footprint. The potential sale of the downtown facilities would offset the costs of relocating. My idea is just open for discussion and the whole problem here is that the current commissioners don't want to consider viable alternatives.

    So, go ahead and not vote for me when I chose to run and vote for THIS financial boondoggle to the taxpayers of 40M plus without ever having any other IDEAS considered.

  • JoeIdaho posted at 10:05 pm on Thu, Nov 22, 2012.

    JoeIdaho Posts: 2841

    Tim, this is the reason I won't vote for you.
    This is nothing more than anothe rincredible boondoggle, a way for our County Government to SPEND another bunch of millions, fully unnecessary. The idea of "moving the fairgrounds" and then "making a tunnell" and at the same time "seling the bvaluable property downtown" is FULL of huge underlying issues, none the least of which is the questions: does the public want to PAY for ALL OF THIS? Of course, that doesn't GET asked.

    It's absurd, totally, and I am against every single bit of it.

  • Tim Herzog posted at 12:56 pm on Thu, Nov 22, 2012.

    Tim Herzog Posts: 392

    This plan to further congest the downtown area is ridiculous. I have written suggestions and ideas before about the fairgrounds being moved to the west where land is cheaper and available, plus freeway access would serve as a gateway to Kootenai County. It was even suggested that a horse racing facility could be incorporated which would generate untold revenue and apparently would be very well utilized, further making Kootenai County a destination.

    Starting with a clean sheet, we could basically design a ‘world class’ fairgrounds that would generate more revenue and bring in new opportunities, especially if located close to the new I-90 interchange!

    The county owns about 90+ acres at the Jail/ Fairgrounds location that could be used for locating the courts and all government services and where parking will never be a problem. An underground passageway could be used to transfer prisoners to and from the courts and that would be a real safety factor, both for the public and the deputies. Another fact is that if the Fairgrounds were relocated, a portion of that 90 acre parcel could be sold off for commercial development and again be on the tax rolls while still maintaining space for future jail expansion.

    The downtown property is HIGH VALUE and could be sold off to substantially pay for this transition to the Jail/Fairground area and the plus side is it would be on the TAX ROLLS, adding much to the county coffers which, like commercial development, ultimately save homeowners by adding tax base that receives no exemptions and helps further reduce levy rates.

    If we, the taxpayers, could pay 10M for the 17 acres in the Education Corridor, which by the way was 588K per acre or $13 a square foot, which makes the downtown county location more valuable. Consider that to replace those buildings would probably cost more than $200 a square foot not including what the dirt under is worth, maybe $20 plus a foot.

    The Commissioners lack long term vision with this plan, as they should be looking 50-100 years into the future, no merely 20 years out. The voters will likely balk at this plan as they should and until all viable options are thoroughly researched, like the ones that I mentioned, we should vote any attempt at this current proposal down.

    Ideas like this have been talked about for years and some have come from county employees. I guess the Commissioners are just bent on pushing this forward like they did with Streamline Kootenai County! Looks like the voters will need to send a message again in the future.

    Tim Herzog
    Former Candidate District 1, County Commissioner 2008/2012
    Watch for my name on the ballot in 2014!

  • votingcountyemployee posted at 5:08 am on Thu, Nov 22, 2012.

    votingcountyemployee Posts: 25

    Unfortunately not enough people felt it was important enough to get new commissioners in. Now we are stuck with the 3 of them for now. 2 more years of their ridiculous ideas.............

  • JoeIdaho posted at 1:01 pm on Wed, Nov 21, 2012.

    JoeIdaho Posts: 2841

    Quick, spend that taxpayer money before they boot us out!

    NOTHING like a little County like Kootenai INSISTING on spending close to 50 MILLION DOLLARS.

    It's criminal, IMO.

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