I received a shock when I was given the price quote from the contractor on the remodel cost of Justice of the Peace Precinct 3 (JP3). When I took office the guestimate of cost was at $250,000. When we engaged an architect the guestimate moved up to $500,000. Then, when plans were actually done the architect’s estimate went up to $850,000. Each year we have budgeted for this and increased the amount. I know remodels cost more per square foot than building new, but this has been discouraging. Well, anyway, the shock was when the price came in at more than $1.2M.
Before I took office, the county built a new JP2 building and, not counting land, that building came in close to $700K. Much cheaper than remodeling JP3. So, we visited with Lyndsay Thorn, the architect on this. He was the architect for JP2 and he was clearly NOT recommending we move forward with the remodel. He has indicated that the plans from JP2 (which we already paid for) are available and if we find land, we can build new. That will hopefully be a lot cheaper and we will have a brand new facility. We are looking at a piece of land right now that may work.
This project is needed. It is the last JP office that has not been rebuilt and it is severely lacking in space, both the general office and offices for the Justice of the Peace and the Constable. JP3 is one of the busiest JPs with ticket processing and is one of the two JPs that is tasked with truancy administration. JP3 uniquely has 3 ISDs in its boundaries. They are also one of the two JPs that have most of the oil-related truck traffic on state and county roads.
The existing building can be, with minor repair, put in use for some other county offices. So, it will not be wasted. But the tab for the remodel is just not cost effective and the best use of your taxpayer dollars.
Thanks for listening.
We want you to be proud of your County Government.
Bob Hurley is the Atascosa County Judge. You may E-mail him at firstname.lastname@example.org.