GALLIPOLIS — Documentation was signed on Thursday by the Gallia County Board of Commissioners finalizing the sale of the facility currently housing the Gallia County Department of Job and Family Services (DJFS) to the county and enabling the agency to continue to provide services to the community.
The facility located at 848 Third Avenue, Gallipolis, was purchased by the county for $739,000 at an amount below the appraisal price of $1.2 million.
The building is being purchased from the Olive Street Group, LLC, of Gallipolis.
“We feel we received a fair deal,” Gallia County Commission President Harold Montgomery said. “We had been leasing these properties for several years and the lease agreement was at $11,000 a month. Our current rate, with the purchase of it, will be $5,000 a month for maintenance and payment of the debt.”
According to Montgomery, the purchase will present an annual savings of $86,000 to DJFS; however, due to a cut of $65,000 in funding to the agency this fiscal year, the purchase will actually present only a $21,000 savings — funding that will allow DJFS to maintain its current staffing level and services.
Montgomery reported that, due to the budget cuts to the agency this year, the commissioners were faced with either purchasing the building housing DJFS or moving the agency to another location with a cheaper monthly lease, and, thereby, reducing staff and services.
“We don’t have this $86,000 extra money because job and family services has lost funding this year. We were either going to purchase the building or were going to have to move into smaller areas to lower the lease agreements because we couldn’t continue the present staff and provide the services,” Montgomery said. “So, with this, we are going to be able to maintain the staff and continue to provide the services to the residents of Gallia County.”
The 25-year loan for the purchase of the building is being provided in the form of a Rural Development loan from the U.S. Department of Agriculture at an interest rate of 3.375 percent — a loan resolution approved by the commission during a special meeting on Tuesday morning.
According to Montgomery, buying the building presents $2.18 million in savings over the life of the 25-year loan, versus leasing the building for that amount of time at the current rate of $11,000 monthly.
This purchase will also in no way affect the county general fund, Montgomery reported, as the payment on the loan and the maintenance on the facility will be provided through the DJFS budget.
“This will not be a drain to the county general, nor will it be an increase to the county general,” he said.
Currently, the facility is also home to the administrative offices of the City of Gallipolis as they await the completion of a municipal building to house their operations. The Gallipolis City Police Department is also located in the building but will be moving to its new home in the Gallipolis City Justice Center upon its expected completion next month.
According to Montgomery, the county is currently in lease negotiations with the City of Gallipolis and the commissioners have proposed an agreement that, if signed, will allow the city to lease space in the facility from month-to-month until their new building is completed.
Gallia County DJFS Director Dana Glassburn also commented that he is not sure if his agency would have been able to maintain its operations if not for the cost savings associated with the purchase of the facility.
“Without this, I’m not sure we would able to sustain everything that is going on and continue to have those services, as far as funding,” Glassburn said. “I’d like to thank the commissioners for taking on the responsibility of purchasing the building at a time when most are nervous to take a step like that. It is something that proves they are looking forward to the future and the citizens that they are serving.”
The Department of Job and Family Services have been housed in some capacity at 848 Third Avenue since 1966, according to Glassburn, with renovations to the facility in 2002 expanding the building to its current state.
“This is another cost-saving measure that we’ve done this year in dealing with our budget crisis that we have here in the county,” Montgomery said. “This does not free up any money for the county general fund but it enables job and family services to continue their operation at the present level.”