In other business Monday, the commission:
• Heard a briefing from Boeckman on Barton County’s is expanded use of social media as a means of providing residents instant access and information. The county uses Facebook (Barton County KS) and Twitter (@BartonCountyKS) with the Sheriff’s Office on Facebook (Barton County Sheriff’s Office).
• Approved the demolition of a dilapidated garage at the Barton County Sheriff’s Office training range, located near the Barton County Landfill. Sheriff Brian Bellendir has suggested the action and he plans to use trustees for the labor and equipment borrowed from the landfill for the project. The commission had to find that the building is no longer of use to the county in order for the demolition to take place.
• The commissioners will hold a planning session at 1 p.m., Wednesday, in the commission chambers at the courthouse, 1400 Main, Room 106, Great Bend.
After much deliberation and soul searching, the Barton County Commission Monday morning voted to sell or somehow dispose of the County Annex in Hoisington.
“I have conflicting feelings on this issue,” Commissioner Jennifer Schartz said. She, along with Commissioner Kenny Schremmer were on the commission when the county took possession of the building located at 353 West 12th, which was formerly a church.
“We were given that building in good faith,” she said, adding they wanted to be good stewards. “We tried.”
But now, “it just doesn’t make financial sense,” Schartz said. “We’ve done everything we could to keep it viable.”
It seemed to be an ideal match.
In 2006, the First Christian Church in Hoisington was disbanding and the congregation was looking some way to dispose of its building.
At the same time, Barton County officials were in the market for extra space, with the idea of finding a home for non-profit organizations.
Church members donated the structure to the county. The county then tried to develop the extra space for its purposes.
However, it was noted Monday morning, the concept of a non-profit office complex never materialized. The agencies didn’t want to move to Hoisington.
So, presently, it is the headquarters of the Environmental Management Office and its staff of two who will soon be moving to the Barton County Courthouse. Clara Barton Hospital is using a portion of it, but will be pulling out as well.
Now, the building’s heating and air conditioning systems are in bad shape, there may be some issues with asbestos insulation and the roof will need replacing in the near future, County Administrator Richard Boeckman said. The county budgets $20,000 annually for its upkeep.
“This is difficult for me,” Schremmer said. “At the time, we were doing a good thing.”
As it is, it continues to be a drain on county resources, Schremmer said. “We did everything we could.
“It’s sad,” he said. “It is tough to get a gift and then turn around and sell it.”
He feared there may be some controversy in Hoisington over the matter.
In order to shed the building, the commission had to first find that it was no longer needed by the county, Boeckman said. But, with the building valued under $50,000, they have a lot of leeway.
If seen fit, he said the county could even donate the structure.
The county will seek to have the church rezoned from residential to commercial. This has not officially taken place yet, but it has been used for commercial purposes since 2006, so Boeckman said it shouldn’t be difficult to do.
The sale will then be advertised heavily.