Moffat County Commissioners adopt resolution to move forward with negotiations to purchase old Kmart building |

Moffat County Commissioners adopt resolution to move forward with negotiations to purchase old Kmart building

A rendering of the possible Moffat County Courthouse utilizing the old Kmart building.
Courtesy Photo / TreanorHL

Following a third and final public hearing Tuesday morning inside Commissioners’ Chambers, Moffat County Commissioners Ray Beck, Don Cook and Donald Broom approved Resolution 2020-102, authorizing negotiations for the purchase of the old Kmart building for the use of Moffat County.

Previously, commissioners held public hearings regarding the purchase of the old Kmart building for use of a new courthouse on Tuesday, Sept. 29 and Monday, Oct. 5 at the courthouse.

In total, just two residents spoke out against the potential project, including Moffat County resident Jeff Richards Tuesday morning.

Following stances in favor of the project by resident Ken Wergin and Moffat County Facilities Director Lennie Gillam, Richards spoke against the project, citing tax revenue projections and the need for the county to be conservative with the future unknown.

“Everything with this project dovetails together well, as far as retiring the bonds for the safety center and how it might be applied to the Kmart building…but those projected taxes are just projections,” Richards said to commissioners. “You have to be very cautious with spending funds like this. We can’t be dictated by paranoia on this, like our last two speakers were.

“Let’s soft pedal the expenditures for a while and see where we’re at in this county overall, with the different mines and the power plant going down. It’s going to be a whole different tax situation, so be conservative.”

Following the public hearing, Moffat County Director of Development Services Roy Tipton mentioned that a key reason the county was looking at the Kmart building was due to size and purchase price.

“We’ve got a moment in time to acquire a building for $23 a square foot,” Tipton said. “You can’t duplicate that for less than $130 a square foot for an empty box like that building, and that’s why this came up. We thought, maybe we can get this done without having to go back to the voters for an increase in tax money.”

“We do have a window of opportunity here,” Beck said. “We have to recognize as county commissioners that we not only represent the public, but we also represent the people that work within the confines of this courthouse. We have to be conscientious of their safety and create an atmosphere that is conducive to the everyday functions of the county and county services.”

After a brief discussion out of public hearing, commissioners adopted Resolution 2020-102, allowing the county to move forward with negotiations to purchase the old Kmart building.

“Just because we would move forward with this doesn’t mean that it’s done; we still have a lot of work to do,” Cook said. “We still need to receive the projected final costs and everything.”

Currently, there is no timetable on how long negotiations will take with the owners of the old Kmart building.

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