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Archive project needs $500,000

During last week’s meeting, County-Owned Property Committee members voted to send the request from the Washington County Archive to the Budget Committee with no recommendation for just how much should be awarded to the project.
“I don’t feel comfortable putting our stamp of approval on this until the Budget Committee has done their work,” Chair Mark Ferguson said.
Several members of the Public Records Commission accompanied County Archivist Ned Irwin to the April 3 meeting in order to request funding.
“The (county office building) has been turned over to the archive, and we’re at a good point for a capital outlay note at a low interest rate,” Commissioner and PRC Chair Sam Humphreys said.
Irwin agreed the project is ready to move forward. “After one year, we have reached the stage for the next level of archive development,” he said, adding that people across the state are watching the progress in Washington County.
The cost estimate for the office building renovation is $412,000. An additional $100,000 was estimated for items such as shelving and furnishings.
With approximately $20,000 in revenue from filing fees each month, Irwin predicts the capital outlay note debt could be paid from the operating budget of the Department of Records Management and Archive. “Our goal has always been to make the archive a self-funding operation,” Irwin said.
Ferguson said he would prefer to send the request to the Budget Committee without a recommendation to allow members to bid the project and compare the exact costs with the projected revenue. Once those figures are in-hand, the County-Owned Property Committee could consider approval.
County Attorney John Rambo said the mayor’s office is looking at financing options. “We could do it with a capital note, but I think the mayor may want to pool a large group of capital projects and do a bond issue,” he said.
Ferguson said he had spoken with Mayor Dan Eldridge that morning and had the same understanding.
Commissioner Doyle Cloyd made a motion to forward the archive’s request for funding to the Budget Committee without any recommendation on the matter. The motion was seconded by Commissioner George “Skip” Oldham and passed unanimously.