Faced with a politically charged decision pitting a south county probation office against a north county board meeting room, the Gila County Board of Supervisors balked.
Instead, the supervisors directed staff back to the drawing board to recommend how to both move probation offices in Globe and remodel Payson’s meeting room with about
$600,000 in funding.
“We need to move probation. We need to get a better set up to make this building (Gila County Payson offices) better. These are both valid problems and I’d like to see a better proposal,” said Supervisor Tommie Martin.
Some $600,000 in bond funds restricted to improvements on county buildings will fund both projects. The challenge facing county staff is how to prioritize the needed projects.
When the county purchased the Payson
Gila County office building, it did so understanding upgrades would be necessary, said Martin.
On the other side of the coin, the county pays more than $100,000 per year to rent space in a public works building for the Globe Probation Department.
“The building is really not suitable for probation,” said John Nelson, deputy county manager “We wanted to move probation out of the county hospital. We’ve paid $850,000 in rent money for probation. I believe this should be our top priority,” said Supervisor Michael Pastor.
Supervisor Shirley Dawson says the county paying so much in rent for the probation offices is unsustainable.
She said she also recognized the impact of the proposed redistricting maps could have on the demand for better meeting facilities in Payson. She said the new district lines might result in having two supervisors from north county instead of south county.
Currently, Globe has a full public meeting room, while Payson participants cluster around a conference table and watch the Globe proceedings on a TV screen at the end of the room.
Dawson said Payson may soon need better meeting and teleconferencing facilities. However, she concluded with a reminder that “we are one county and the seat will remain in Globe.”
Steve Stratton, public works director for Gila County, presented plans to upgrade the county offices in Payson.
The upgrade to the meeting room would include removing a wall, adding a double door to divide the room into two smaller meeting rooms, adding a dais such as the Globe supervisor meeting room, information technology upgrades, new entrances for the disabled, and additional parking spaces.
The total bid came to $360,000.
“This cost before us is too much,” said Dawson.
“This is a soft estimate. There are some things that are a bit high,” said Stratton when the supervisors opposed the bid amount.