County offices move to Creamery to better serve public
County residents will soon be treated like the cream of the crop.
In the coming days, county commissioners, tax assessors and collectors, and planning and zoning officials will all be moving into one handy, central office location in downtown Madison, the better to serve their local customers.
All of these departments will now be located at the corner of Hancock and West Washington Streets, in the cityâ€™s historic â€œCreameryâ€? building, which was once a production center for butter and cream for local dairy farmers, and later the home of a milk transport company.Â
â€œWeâ€™re hoping to move Planning and Zoning next week, and maybe the commissioners the week after that,â€? said County Manager Michael Lamar in an interview earlier this week.
The county procured the building, once used as part of the offices of Avado Brands, for $1.7 million last year. The structure has 20,000 square feet of office space and another 10,000 square feet of unheated storage. Once all the planned moves occur, the county will only be occupying 75 percent of the available office area, leaving plenty of room for expansion.
Over time, the move is expected to be a cost-saver for the county, as well as a boon to citizens, who will now have one-stop shopping for all county administrative needs.
â€œItâ€™s going to be more economical for the county over time,â€? said Commissioner Ellen Warren Jones. â€œIt will save the county money to maintain one building rather than multiple buildings.â€?
Only state constitutional offices will not be located in the Creamery. Probate and Magistrate courts, as well as a Sheriffâ€™s representative, will still be located in the Morgan County Courthouse; eventually, the Clerk of Superior Court will take over the Hancock Street space being vacated by the Planning and Zoning and tax offices, and the 4-H offices and the Board of Elections and Registration will continue to occupy the former Senior Center, slated for a series of fall renovations.Â
The county currently has no plans to sell the current Commissionersâ€™ office building, nor the county-owned office building on North Second St.; those facilities will likely be leased to others.
Emergency 911 Services, currently housed in a small building behind the courthouse, will stay put for the time being; county officials are still hoping that space for those employees will be incorporated into designs for a new public safety facility/jail, but a definitive decision on that will not be forthcoming until county officials decide where a new jail will be built.
In the meantime, Lamar does not expect major interruptions in the office hours of county services as the move to the Creamery is effected.
â€œWeâ€™re going to try to work through this, and have at least a skeleton crew [available to work with the public] at all times,â€? said Lamar.