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Clerk, trustee offices to move to north Johnson City

Following months of discussion, Washington County commissioners made a final decision to move the County Clerk and Trustee offices from the Downtown Centre to North Johnson City.
Commissioner Doyle Cloyd moved to sign a five-year lease agreement for the property at 378 Marketplace Blvd. during the March 28 commission meeting.
An updated monthly budget for the new site was estimated at $6,364, which includes $3,487 in costs to the landlord, $1,950 for a security officer, and $927 to cover utilities, a janitor, insurance and rugs.
However, it looks like there will no longer be a security officer at the offices, bringing monthly costs down to $4,414.
Commissioner Pat Wolfe expressed concern about the removal of a security guard from an office that has cash transactions.
According to Cloyd, chair of the County-Owned Property Committee, a panic button will be installed by Fleenor security.
The cost to install a control panel and one armed station will be $680 with an ongoing $25 monthly monitoring fee. Additional panic buttons can be installed for $35 each.
County Clerk Kathy Storey said she is comfortable with the change to a panic button.
Budget Committee members will now be charged with finding any money needed for the project during the current fiscal year.
During talks, Commissioner Sam Humphreys said he doesn’t think the county will need these offices in Johnson City by the end of the five-year lease.
He referred to a recent newspaper article on the new Johnson City connection bus route to Jonesborough.
“People also have the Internet and the telephone, which don’t require an office visit,” he said.
During the vote, Commissioners Ethan Flynn and Joe Grandy opposed the move.
Meanwhile, the cost to maintain the vacated Downtown Centre while under the county’s ownership will be $3,701 per month.
Currently, the county is trying to sell the building as Northeast State Community College looks to turn the facility into a teaching site.