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HVAC project moves forward

County Commissioners grapple with Courthouse HVAC renovation

DAYTON–During the Board of County Commissioners Work Session on Monday, October 28, Dave Finney, Courthouse Maintenance Supervisor, presented two issues: The Courthouse HVAC System and the asbestos abatement at 112 North 1st.

Finney reported that a grant of approximately $110,000 had been received from the Historic Courthouse Program of Washington State Department of Archaeology and Historic Preservation for the purpose of upgrading the HVAC in the courthouse. The amount, at the time, was sufficient to complete the required work. However, since then, the prevailing wage for HVAC workers went up significantly from around $27 per hour to over $80 per hour, adding roughly $200,000 or more to the cost of the project.

The Courthouse HVAC system needs replacement and it is felt that this is the more urgent project, but would need additional funding due to the prevailing wage increase. At this time, it was decided to start the HVAC project utilizing the initial grant of $110,000. In the effort to offset additional cost, other sources of funding are currently being investigated to absorb the significant increase, to include other grants or possibly low interest loans.

In other business, the county purchased the building on 112 North 1st Street in August of 2019 with the intention of using this for Public Health. Presently, Public Health is paying rent in their current location and the move to a County owned facility would alleviate the rental expenditure. However, the building at 112 North 1st was purchased before obtaining an inspection from the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). Subsequently, an asbestos issue was discovered. Because EPA was not involved during the purchase process, this places limitations on applying for grants or other funding on asbestos abatement.

One path to take would be to sell the building and have the necessary ecological assessment done as part of the sale. Another option is to obtain low interest financing via the LOCAL program from the Washington State Treasurer. This program provides Washington municipalities with a cost-effective way to finance equipment and/or real estate projects.

To qualify, the application for reimbursement must be authorized within sixty days of purchase. Finney mentioned that the sixty-day period would run out in about three days unless the Commissioners passed a resolution authorizing a low interest loan or other type of reimbursement for this project, which would buy more time for a decision.

At a special meeting on Tuesday October 29, the County Commissioners voted to accept Resolution 2019-48, to authorize reimbursement for the purchase and remodel of the building at 112 North 1st Street. This does not obligate the county to actually apply for that reimbursement.