Projects will cost over $28 million if passed in November general election

At Tuesday’s regular Dallas County Board of Supervisors meeting, Tim Oswald of Piper Jaffray, a financial consultant hired by the county, presented financial estimates and tax implications for the proposed Dallas County Sheriff’s Office–Law Enforcement Center and the Dallas County Administration Facility.

The two separate bond referendums will be listed on the ballot during the general election on November 4.

If passed by voters, the Law Enforcement Center (county jail) will be constructed near the eastern border of the Adel city limits in the Ortonville area, which is land currently owned by the county. The current county jail is located in downtown Adel.

If passed, the County Administration Facility will be constructed at the intersection of the Raccoon River and Highway 6 in Adel – on the west side of the river. The northern border of the site is River Street while South 6th Street borders the west.

The site of the proposed administration building was made public Wednesday morning by the Adel-Dallas County Public Corporation. The proposed site will cost $750,000.

Oswald presented estimates for both facilities, with each bond amount to be paid by Dallas County residents via tax increases–if the referendums pass. The estimate for the Law Enforcement Center is $16.3 million while the County Administration Facility would require a not-to-exceed amount of $11.8 million.

The $16.3 bond would increase the county tax levy by approximately $ 0.25 per $1,000 in net taxable value while the $11.8 bond would increase the levy by about $0.19 per $1,000 in net taxable value. If both bond referendums pass during the November election, county residents would see a total property tax increase of $0.44 per $1,000 annually. For example, a county resident who owns a $100,000 home would see a $44 annual tax increase.

"This board is not a board that likes to spend money so we don’t take this lightly," said Dallas County Board of Supervisors Chairman Kim Chapman.

The ballpark figures give the county a not-to-exceed amount that will be listed on the ballot, however, the actual cost of the projects could fall below the financial estimates. The $750,000 acquisition cost for the county administration building site will not be included in the $11.8 million bond. The $750,000 will be paid for out of the county’s capital fund.

A special election was held in August of 2013 for a bond referendum combining the two facilities at a cost of $16.9 million. The public measure needed a 60 percent vote "yes" to pass, however, the referendum only received a 32 percent "yes" vote.

"This board and this member of this board did everything we thought we could do with property that we owned, combining common space in the town of Adel – granted, not adjacent to downtown," said Dallas County Supervisor Mark Hanson. "That’s over, it’s done, it’s history. We thought that was the best alternative, given the information we had at that point." There are a few key differences between the 2013 bond referendem and 2014 plans.

The 2013 plans had the Law Enforcement Center and Administration Facility combined at one location, east of Adel at the Ortonville site with a bond amount of $16.85 million. The 2014 plan has two separate locations – the Law Enforcement Center in Ortonville and the County Administration Facility just southeast of the Adel square at the intersection of the Raccoon River and Highway 6. The total cost for both projects is $28.1 million – about $11 million more than the 2013 proposal.

Jerry Purdy of Design Alliance Inc. of Waukee stated that construction costs have increased by about eight percent in the past year. Increased costs and utilizing two separate sites have increased the proposed bond from $16.9 million in 2013 to a total of $28.1 million (not including the $750,000 land purchase) in 2014.

The City of Adel and residents expressed concern about the 2013 plans for the county building.

In June, the Adel City Council passed and entered into a 28E agreement with the county, supporting the projects and providing $500,000. As a result of the agreement, the Adel-Dallas County Public Corporation was created, composed of Adel Mayor Jim Peters and Dallas County Board of Supervisors Chairman Kim Chapman, to select the site of the proposed projects.

The bond referendums being presented by the county will help solve space issues needed and offer more centralized services.

"There is a whole series of things that is our obligation that we can’t do in our current facilities given what has occurred. We need the citizenry to allow us the ability to fund the projects. At some point it’s inevitable," Hanson said.

The county currently pays approximately $225,000 per year for four rental properties that house county offices. Constructing new facilities would eliminate the need for those rental properties.

According to the United States Census Bureau website, Dallas County population increased by an estimated 12.9 percent from 2010 to 2013 – from 66,135 residents in 2010 to 74,641 in 2013. Most of the county growth has come in Waukee, growing an estimated 23.7 percent from 2010 to 2013 with a population of 13,803 in 2010 and 17,077 in 2013.

"We’ve done these space studies over the years and there are volumes of information that talk about square footage needed for all the different functions," said Dallas County Supervisor Brad Golightly. "This effort is to try and accommodate the current space needs and to look to the future. Beyond that, these new facilities will have the capacity to be built on to if people in the future have further needs."

County officials say the projects will meet the needs of the county for 25 years with opportunities to expand in the future if needed.

"These new facilities are being planned to take care of the county needs for the next 25 years. We’re trying not to get landlocked so we can’t grow at all," said Chapman.

"This proposal isn’t about us. I’m a representative of all those people that use county facilities and functions. My job is to put the best foot forward on how we’re going to accomplish all that," added Golightly.