County takes first step to build Extension building

Quorum Court Finance Committee chair and District 4 Justice of the Peace Jonathon Davis describes the continued 3 / 8-cent sales tax revenue from the already-retired bonds used to finance the jail. The estimated $700,000 thus becoming available is expected to fund construction of a county-owned Extension Agency building.

Greene County has taken the first step toward construction of a building to house both the Greene County Extension Agency and the Greene County Election Commission.

At Monday’s meeting Greene County Quorum Court voted 9-0 to amend the county’s 2020 appropriation ordinance by adding $50,000 to the General Reserve fund to hire an architect to design the building.

The architect is to be hired through the bidding process. “We sent out a request for architect qualifications today,” said County Judge Rusty McMillon. He added submitted qualifications would be reviewed on Aug. 7 at 10:30 a.m.

The funds, as well as whatever might be required to construct the building, are to come from the excess revenue still coming in from the 3/8-cent sales tax used to pay off the bonds that funded the Greene County Detention Center. According to Greene County Treasurer Debbie Cross and Quorum Court Finance Committee chair Jonathon Davis, the excess money turned back to the county so far comes to $219,918.37. “And that’s with [an added] $100,000 pulled back in case there are some unforeseen costs,” Davis said at the Finance Committee meeting that preceded the regular Quorum Court meeting.

Cross added during the main Quorum Court meeting that two more checks from the state are also expected, each estimated to be between $190,000 and $200,000. The total amount expected to be received from the excess revenue could range from just under $700,000 to just under $720,000.

As originally projected back in February – before the COVID-19 public health emergency – the amount of surplus was estimated to be $721,586.18. The surplus came about through the bond payoff in April of this year, while the tax itself did not end until the last day of June.

As envisioned, the new building is to be located on a county-owned 10-acre tract just east of the Greene County Road Department. It is to include office space for the Extension Agency as well as a conference room. Currently, the Extension Agency rents space above the Post Office in the Federal Building at 201 W. Court St. Rents have continued to increase over the years, so the county is taking advantage of the surplus money to build a facility to house the agency. Some of the 10 acres is expected to be used for agriculture test plots, as well.

The Greene County Election Commission will also use the building to house its equipment and hold early voting. The use of a county-owned building is expected to eliminate the need to rent the Community Building at the Greene County Fairgrounds for early voting, as is now the case.

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