During the board’s November 13th meeting, Staff requested a $250,000 increase in the contingency fund due to unforeseen challenges in the over-100-year-old building. This sparked a detailed discussion between staff and the board.
Supervisor Neely contested the decision by the CAO and Public Works Director to modify office spaces in the new courthouse. The change aimed to accommodate the consolidation of the county auditor/controller and treasurer/tax collector offices, eliminating the need for dual offices. The planned office space was repurposed into multi-purpose rooms for staff and supervisors. Neely, also speaking on behalf of Supervisor Bridges, argued for individual private offices for each supervisor. CAO Egan countered, noting the historical underutilization of designated supervisor office space.
Supervisor Ingram initially opposed the architectural change, citing it as an unnecessary expense. Staff argued that the reconfigured rooms would enhance efficiency. The motion to increase the contingency budget resulted in a split vote, with Ingram and Neely voting against it. This decision disappointed the CAO and Public Works Director, who emphasized the project delay, which would, in turn, result in increased costs.
The meeting continued with discussions on increased fees for the architect and furniture expenses for the courthouse. Before concluding, county counsel suggested revisiting the failed motion. Ingram’s changed understanding, coupled with CAO Egan’s clarification that the increase had already been included in the 23/24 budget, prompted a revote.
In the final tally, the supervisors approved the $250,000 increase in contingency funds for the courthouse renovation project in a 3-1 vote, with Supervisor Neely as the sole dissenter.