The Catoosa County Board of Commissioners on Tuesday voted unanimously to sell or lease the RTC building it purchased for $575,000 in July 2003 for use as a county administrative building. The county will now construct a new administrative facility near the Ringgold Post Office.
Carl Henson, Catoosa’s chief financial officer, said the proposed 15,000-square-foot structure will likely cost $100 per square foot, or about $1.5 million. Officials expect to fund the construction with a bond or loan financed over a 30-year period, costing the county approximately $100,000 per year, he said.
County Manager J.D. Byrd said last month that the estimated cost of renovating the RTC building spiked from a planned $400,000 to $760,000 because of an extra $250,000 expense to replace the roof and $50,000 to repair water damage.
“We’re erasing off a mistake we made and we need to get (the RTC building) sold,” Commissioner Bobby Winters said.
The county already owns property near the post office, Byrd said. To facilitate construction of the new administrative building, the county will purchase adjacent property where the law offices of Ringgold attorney Ken Poston and his associates are located for $136,000.
Byrd said the land acquisition will bring the county’s property area at the site to 2.87 acres.
Henson said the county has only utilized Public Works labor for renovations on the RTC building, and the county has not spent money on any outside renovation services.
He said the county’s best option is to sell the building as is, but additional renovations might be necessary before a sale is possible. The building and property will likely be sold via a bid process, he said.
Commissioner Ron Gracy said the sale or lease of the RTC building will allow the county to recoup its initial investment.
“At the time RTC was considered as a county administrative building, the county was looking for a short-term solution to keep expenses down,” he said. “Since that time, the county has become more financially solvent and stable. This will allow us to look 30 years into the future instead of 10.
“No one should be faulted for the decision (to buy RTC),” Gracy said. “It was correct at the time it was made.”
The county purchased the RTC building on Nashville Street as a means to lower or eliminate rental costs and alleviate space problems at the Catoosa County Courthouse.
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According to RTC President Phil Erli, the building and land appraised at $783,000.
Commissioners Mark Fletcher and Jim Emberson both said the additional cost of renovating the RTC building coupled with the Poston land becoming available altered the county’s plans.
“(The RTC building) was purchased as a stop gap measure,” Emberson said. “Some things have changed since then.