Building purchase would be a wise investment

Published 9:17 pm Wednesday, July 28, 2004

By Staff
As we reported last week, the Escambia County Commission is looking into the purchase of the Caffey/Presto building in downtown Brewton to alleviate tightening office space in the county courthouse. In a time when local government budgets are also tightening, the purchase of a building might seem like a large unnecessary expense, but the county would likely come out ahead on this investment, or one like it. The spaces currently occupied by county offices are finite, and if the county doesn't acquire or lease new property it will only face an increasing space crunch over the years.
The opportunity under consideration by the county right now has some unique advantages. Located within a short walk from the courthouse, any county officials located in the new building would not be disconnected from the rest of county business. The building also has three existing tenants, who the county would like to see remain there if it did purchase the building. There would be room for more county offices, while tenants' lease agreements would ease costs to the county.
Inevitably, the county is going to have to address its office space problem. Whether that time is now will depend on an appraisal and legal agreements that are under consideration by the county, but deciding make an offer is a bold step for the county and it could be the right one.