The new building for three La Plata County departments – the Assessor, Clerk & Recorder and Treasurer – is close to opening its doors.
Megan Graham, county spokeswoman, said the Assessor and Treasurer offices will move into the aptly named the “ACT Building” by Dec. 15, with the Clerk & Recorder’s Office not far behind, eying a Jan. 20, 2020, move-in date.
La Plata County commissioners in October 2018 approved the new $5.3 million building in an effort to consolidate the three offices into a two-story, 14,389-square-foot building at 679 Turner Drive in Bodo Industrial Park.
The move takes the Assessor’s Office out of the County Administration Building at 1101 East Second Avenue. The space will now be occupied by the county’s Human Resource Department.
The Clerk & Recorder’s Office will move from its current location at 98 Everett St., which will mark the vacating of the last space the county rents, saving about $132,000 per year.
And the Treasurer’s Office heads to the ACT Building from its current spot at the Old Main Post Office in the 1000 block of Main Avenue. The move, officials say, will allow the county to carry out its long-desired plan of selling the Old Main Post Office.
For Clerk & Recorder Tiffany Parker, the move couldn’t come soon enough. The office’s location at 98 Everett St. is decades old, poorly suited to house the department and has continuous maintenance issues, evidenced by sewer issues that shut down the office Tuesday afternoon.
Moreover, the new office is an efficient use of space and improves security, especially for elections, Parker said. As an added bonus, the ACT building is easier to get to, she said, and features a drive-thru drop box for elections.
“It’s built for us and what we need to operate more efficiently,” she said.
Many times, residents of La Plata County need all three departments’ services, like when changing the title for a mobile home, Parker said. The consolidation of the offices makes all these processes easier and more convenient for them.
Assessor Carrie Woodson said the new building is a vast improvement, in terms of safety, for her department and staff. People can get upset about their taxes, she said, and the new location secures access in and out of the office.
“During protest season, it’s really important,” she said. “You can’t ask for anything better than what we got here.”
Treasurer Allison Aichele reiterated the improvements in safety with the new building. She said the new facility has features that better protect county funds her office oversees.
“It’s much safer from the physical safety aspect,” she said.
Funds for the project, county officials say, were saved over a number of years for the purpose of paying for facility needs the county identified in a master plan in 2012.
La Plata County, in the early 2000s when revenues were high from a peak in the oil and gas industry, started saving money for needs the county anticipated in the future. The ACT building, for example, is part of that long-term planning
Graham said the building is meeting the approximately $5.3 budgeted for the project.