Government center to get review

| 22 Feb 2012 | 02:10

    The gallery at the legislature’s chambers was filled with workers from the downsized Valley View nursing home, some of whom had already gotten their pink slips. For them, the idea of spending $200,000 to study whether the government center should be rebuilt or refurbished was a hard sell. Ed Diana, the county executive, has slashed his expectations from the $7 million for architectural design proposals he had asked for earlier. This month’s proposal would rebuild the government center in phases and require less money for design. No legislator denies that the current building has lots of problems, especially leaks and mold. But Legislator Tom Pahucki summed up critics’ objections when he said, “I’d like a new house too. But I don’t think I can afford it, and I know my wife would say we can’t afford it.” The legislature should create its budget first, he said. “Now, I haven’t a clue what our financial health is,” he said. He suggested waiting until spring before giving the proposal another look. “We have the business of the county to do, roads and sidewalks to repair,” he said. “We have to keep the doors open to do the county’s business, even if we have to put pails out, and this building is already paid for.” But Legislator Dennis Simons summed up the growing consensus for action. “It’s unfair to do nothing,” he said. In the end, legislators approved the study by the two-thirds majority needed because it requires bonding. Several agreed only on the condition - which they demanded in writing — that the study consider alternative designs as well as renovations to the existing building. “We would have done it anyway, but I get it, and now it’s in writing,” Diana said.