County works out space needs requirements

BOCC SealThe Citrus County Commission and the county's constitutional officers were able to make headway on Thursday in working out space needs to handle needs into the future.
 
Commissioners called the end result of the process "historic."
 
The need for more, or different, space by the sheriff's office, court system, Guardian Ad Litem, the Board of County Commissioners, Supervisor of Elections and Clerk of Courts has been a hot-button issue for some time.
 
In a nutshell, an agreement between the Sheriff's Office and Clerk of Courts broke a logjam in which the county's plan was originally to move the Sheriff’s Civil Area on the first floor beside Commission Chambers to the Clerk’s lobby service desk/reception area.
 
Sheriff Prendergast said he would notify the media to inform the public where the new Civil area will be located.
 
Angela Vick was able to free up some space to put the sheriff's Civil Area in one of the spaces being moved to the former Health Department building on North Montgomery Street in Inverness. The WIC Program will remain in the Southeast Wing of the building. 
 
The Clerk's Office will only be moving a portion of the office (Finance and Internal Audit portion) to North Montgomery Street, which will take up an approximate area of 10,600 square feet. Construction is anticipated to be completed by the end of 2018.
 
The Guardian Ad Litem will move from the Brannen Bank Building into the space currently occupied by the Sheriff's Civil Area. Guardian Ad Litem must be relocated by Oct. 23.
 
The space formerly occupied by the Clerk of Court at Meadowcrest will be reconfigured for the County Property Appraiser's Office, and a wall constructed to protect the staff from unauthorized access by members of the public.
 
The Supervisor of Elections would move into an area of the county's Meadowcrest building. Equipment currently stored at the Citrus County Fairgrounds will go in first, Supervisor of Elections Susan Gill told commissioners on Thursday. She will keep 500 square feet of exsting office in Inverness, and there will be no new staffing because of this move.
 
The BOCC offices will move into the former Coke Building at some point, but when it will move and the cost to do that have not yet been determined.
 
There will be a new courtroom and judge's chamber, including ancillary support functions in the former BOCC space on the second floor.
 
It will take about two years or more, but the Clerk's Office will eventually vacate about 4,000 square feet in the basement of the courthouse to meet future courthouse needs.
 
The total cost of all these moves is unknown at present, Citrus County Administrator Randy Oliver said. He said that $100,000 is available in the current year from the space study, another $500,000 has been budgeted for the upcoming 2017-18 Fiscal year, and another $500,000 will be budgeted for Fiscal Year 2018-19 and FY 2019-20.
 
"We believe there is sufficient funding available to move the Guardian Ad Litem to the courthouse and to move the Clerk to the former Health Department Building," Oliver said