This architectural rendering shows the proposed 15,320-square-foot new Alamosa County annex building.
Courtey of D2C ARCHITECTS, INC.
Courier staff writer
ALAMOSA — Act now, or pay more in the future.
Alamosa County commissioners took that stance last month, when they unanimously approved a lease purchase proposal to fund construction of a new county annex building.
The board accepted a proposal from San Luis Valley Federal Bank, which is offering the county a 3.9 percent fixed rate for a 20-year lease period, or a 4.1 percent fixed rate over a 25-year-period.
Both rates apply to a $2 million lease, or a $2.5 million lease, according to Alamosa County Chief Financial Officer Brittney DeHerrera.
Commissioner Michael Yohn said that county officials took near-record low interest rates into consideration when they decided to push forward with a new annex building project.
“Honestly, I don’t think we’ll see these rates again,” he said.
Commission Chair Darius Allen said the bank’s fixed-rate proposal would benefit the county down the road.
“It’s just easier to budget year in and year out,” he said.
In addition to the winning proposal, the county received a second offer from Alamosa State Bank.
It submitted a proposal for a 3.75 percent adjustable rate over a 10-year period. After that time, the bank would have adjusted its proposed rate to the equivalent of the prime lending rate, plus 0.50 percent, for another 10-year period, according to DeHerrera.
While the board ultimately selected San Luis Valley Federal Bank’s offer, it declined to set the final dollar amount at the same time.
The proposed building, which would replace the current annex space at 402 Edison Ave., comes with an estimated price tag of $2.7 million to $3.1 million. It would house the county’s land use, building and veterans’ affairs departments, as well as the offices of the clerk-recorder, treasurer and assessor.
According to DeHerrera, the county would spend about $175,000 per year to finance the project. However, Yohn took pains to note that the county is not asking its citizens to pay more taxes.
Part of the funding for the project would come from the sale of the current annex building to San Luis Valley Federal Bank.
County officials are also seeking grant funding from the Colorado Department of Local Affairs. In addition, they’ve already committed their own in-kind contributions, including earth-moving work on the proposed site at 8900 Independence Way.
DeHerrera expects that the county will also save more money over the long term, since the project team of Keith Helmstetler Architects + Associates and D2C Architects incorporated energy-efficient measures into its design.
A building inspector found that the current annex building has been very well maintained over the years. Yet county officials say they’re spending more to keep the aging facility in good shape.
“We’re taking one building out of operation that is increasing our costs … and replacing it with a more efficient (structure),” DeHerrera said during a recent open house on the project.
Several other factors prompted county officials to take a closer look at building a new structure.
For one thing, the current facility’s bathrooms are out of compliance with the federal Americans With Disabilities Act. Therefore, if the county opted to stay in the current building, it would be required to completely remodel those areas.
“We don’t get to pick the laws we follow and the laws we don’t follow,” DeHerrera noted.
The current facility also lacks adequate parking, meeting rooms, storage areas and countertop space, according to DeHerrera and other county officials.