By B.C. Manion
Pasco County may spend as much as $400,000 to put together a master facilities plan, which ultimately could lead to cost savings and greater efficiency.
Andrew Baxter, the county’s operations supervisor, said the county needs a master plan to get a clear picture of what the county owns, how its facilities are being used and to help plan to meet future needs.
The county had been looking at the possibility of hiring a consultant to put together a master facilities plan. Preliminary estimates for that work were put at $650,000.
Some commissioners balked at the idea of spending so much money for outside help, so county staff went back to the drawing board and came back with a new approach.
The new proposal, which Baxter refers to as Plan B, would involve hiring a project manager for a year and contracting for outside services. That approach is estimated at $400,000, including $75,000 for the project manager.
The idea would be to hire the manager for a year to get the facilities plan done, then the Pasco County Commission could decide whether to continue that position, Baxter said, during a workshop with commissioners on July 16.
The county needs the master facilities plan to identify all of the county’s real estate holdings, to get a true picture of how its facilities are being used and to help determine if there are ways to share facilities, reduce the use of rental space and so on, Baxter said.
Commissioner Henry Wilson said it’s not easy to get a good understanding of the county’s real estate holdings.
County Administrator Michele Baker said the county has property that it didn’t buy and doesn’t need, but she added that more information is needed to determine how to best use the county’s resources.
“We need to understand what we have,” Baxter said, so the county could collocate various departments and could better share its resources.
The county needs to do an occupancy study, to develop facility use and space allocation standards and to take a long-term view of facility needs, Baxter said.
The plan will include space needs of the county’s constitutional officers, Baker said.
“We’re behind where we need to be,” Baxter said.
Since the board was meeting in a workshop setting, no action was taken. Any vote on this issue would need to occur during a board meeting.
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