KANSAS CITY, Mo. — On Monday, the Jackson County Legislature approved the $9 million purchase of a building that will serve as the new location for county administrative offices. The building is located at 1300 Washington Street.
“The Legislature and my Administration have worked together to dramatically improve Jackson County’s financial position since I took office. By working together, we have been able to dramatically increase our operating reserves, reduce our debt by approximately $100 million and achieve the highest credit-rating in the county’s history,” Jackson County Executive Frank White, Jr. said in a news release. “I am proud to say that because of our hard work we can responsibly purchase this building without increasing anyone’s taxes, charging higher fees or taking on any additional debt."
In a 6-3 vote, the Legislature approved the purchase of the building, which was built in 1997 and has 82,664 square feet of space over three floors.
When the Jackson County Courthouse underwent a condition and space needs assessment, it was determined that the estimated cost would be $255 million to address "significant deficiencies at the courthouse, including but not limited to, replacing the mechanical, electrical, plumbing and fire protection systems, as well as altering the building’s interior use for improved customer service and adequate ADA accessibility," according to the release.
To complete the improvements to the courthouse, county staff need to be relocated to a flexible space.
A recent audit by the International Association of Assessing Officers of Jackson County's Assessment Department found that the downtown courthouse was originally designed for storage and not office space
“As a result, the retrofit into offices, meeting areas, and storage spaces does not yield sufficient office space for a current assessment program,” the audit said.
According to the release, the lack of sufficient office space "negatively impacts the department’s ability to recruit and retain staff, as well as provide taxpayer assistance."
“Today, I proudly supported the county executive because it’s the right thing to do,” Jackson County Legislator Crystal Williams said. “This new building is an opportunity for us to do good by our associates, many of whom have dedicated decades of service to the county in less than favorable conditions."