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After months of consideration and logistical process, Elbert County now officially owns the former Bank of the West building at 440 Comanche St. in Kiowa.“We've got the bank building, done our due diligence, gone through everything,” said County Commissioner Danny Willcox.All told, the appraisal came in at $515,000, with the purchase price at $495,800.“I thought it'd be worth more,” Willcox said.“We were frustrated at first,” he said, “and then I realized the appraiser had deducted the cost for the improvements” that would be required for the building from the final value.“The appraisal came in as-is,” Willcox said.All the documentation has been posted on the home page of the Elbert County website.“We posted all the documentation we had, which was pretty much everything: the appraisal, evaluation, expansion plan, the closing on the 13th (of June),” he said.“The explanation of the whole process is in there, the improvements it needed,” Willcox explained.“Probably the most concerning thing for us is the inspection with the bank building. In the report it does say that we may encounter air-conditioning and heater problems in two to three years, and it needs a new roof,” he said. “It is going to incur some costs in the future.”The plan for the building is for the county treasurer and the clerk and recorder to occupy the top floor.“We're probably not going to occupy the lower floor until 2018,” Willcox said.The county assessor is tentatively scheduled to move into the lower level in 2018.“We're going to fund an elevator at the beginning of 2018. There's already good office space. It's finished, and a good portion is unfinished,” Willcox said. “That gives us a lot of space to expand. What's holding us back is the elevator.”In order to fund the elevator, the county is planning to put the county-owned Hoo House, a home that has been the meeting place for families who require monitored visitations, on the market soon.“We're going list it for $260,000. We'll use that funding to improve the bank building,” Willcox said.The plan to replace the meeting house is to build a new one near Health and Human Services, using some of the funds from the sale of the Hoo House as well as state funding.Profits from the Hoo House “should pretty much cover 95 percent of our costs in improving the bank building. We'll be in there without any debt,” Willcox said.“Hopefully that'll hold us for 10-15 years, and at that point,” he added. “Hopefully, the county will be in a position to float a county bond and have an actual municipal center.”To view the documentation for the Bank of the West building purchase, visit www.elbertcounty-co.gov.
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