The Cass County Public Safety Commission, Monday, passed a motion by Commissioner Julie Adams to request a quote from the Cambridge Law Firm, with regard to the purchase price of the building at 707 Poplar Street.
Cass County Public Safety Commission. (Clockwise, L-R: Shawn Shouse, Chair; Gaylord Schelling; Rob Koppert; Tom Harris; Julie Adams;Steve Livengood.)
Once a quote is obtained and passed on to the Board of Supervisors, the Commission will recommend the County move forward with presenting an offer for the building, which could potentially serve as the site for the Cass County Communications Center. Adams acknowledged there is no guarantee the Supervisors will agree with the recommendation. Commissioner Steve Livengood said the recommendation could be approved, but it may not have the outcome the Commission intended.
Adams said if the Supervisors vote it down, the Commission could go back to the table. Livengood asked what would happen if the Board decided to purchase the building, but instead of moving the Comm. Center to the alternate location, instead moved the County Assessor and Engineers offices to the site. Adams said there’s nothing the Commission can do about that.
If that were the case, moving the Assessor and Engineer’s offices to the Cambridge Building would open up the additional needed space in the Courthouse for the 911 Center, Emergency Management Director and 9-1-1 Director need. But Commissioner Gaylord Schelling said that would mean a reassessment of those spaces.
Schelling said the cost is a big factor to him, and revamping the lower floors to accommodate the Comm. Center would be costly. E-911 Director Rob Koppert said it would cost more money to reconstruct the lower level of the courthouse – once the Assessor and Engineer’s offices are moved – than it would to make the Cambridge Building fit the needs of the 911 Center. Schelling said if that’s the case, the Carlson, West and Povondra Architectural firm in Omaha could reassess the feasibility of using those spaces, and if it isn’t workable, that option would be tossed out.
In his report to the Board of Supervisors this past April, Al Povandra said any changes to the courthouse would cost “Big Bucks,” and it’s something that is not easily done. The options he gave included moving the Cass County Communications Center to the 3rd floor of the courthouse, expanding and making Security upgrades to the County Attorney’s Offices on the 3rd floor of the courthouse, or expanding the courthouse to the north to make room for the Communications Center. Depending on the option selected, it would cost anywhere from $800,000 to as much as $3-million dollars to make the necessary improvements.
Discussions on how to handle the space needs of the Cass County 911 Center, along with new equipment necessary for Next Generation 911 services, has been ongoing for more than two-years.