News Democrat

Some county offices to change locations

By Wayne Gates –

The Brown County Sheriff’s Department is running out of room.
“We have a series of moves to allow the sheriff’s department some additional office space.  That will involve moving the current building department, the coroner and the EMA director,” said Brown County Commissioner Tony Applegate.
The three offices are currently located in the building directly in front of the jail that houses the Brown County Title Office and the child support enforcement office.
Brown County Sheriff Gordon Ellis said that the move will come in two phases and happen over the next 30 to 60 days.
Phase one will include moving administrative functions of the sheriff’s office, including the detective devision and CCW administration, and phase two will include moving the road patrol offices.
The building department will move to the OSU extension office at the Brown County Fairgrounds where the EMA director’s office was formerly located and the EMA director will move to the Brown County Communications Center.  The offices of the coroner will move within the Title Department/Child Support building to open up about 25 percent of the building for use by the sheriff’s department.
“This move has three advantages.  It provides additional working space for the sheriff’s office personnel.  It’s extremely cost effective because it requires very little renovation, and it ultimately clears out the jail that needs additional space for jail functions,” said Ellis.
Applegate said that the moves were decided on after an evaluation of whether all county offices are being used to maximize efficiency.
“We found that (efficiency) with three smaller moves of departments, so the board of elections and the title office at this time won’t be moving.  We may look at those in the future when the need for additional space comes up,” Applegate said.
“We studied potential moves of the board of elections, the title office and the coroner, building department and EMA.  We analyzed various scenarios and we had many discussions with department heads.  In the end, we thought there was the potential that we would make a move with the board of elections and the title office, and in the end it didn’t make sense in the end to make those moves.”
Applegate said that the move involving the BCSO is ultimately tied to an upcoming jail expansion.
“We are still gathering data to see what size jail expansion we need, but we needed to free up some of the office space used in the current jail as administration and turn that into space for jail operations. A jail expansion is imminent.  The time frame, the size of the expansion and how to pay for it and operate it are still to be answered.”