People seeking to pay taxes, look up records or find a Crow Wing County Board meeting may have to consult a directory once the county's new buildings along Laurel Street in Brainerd open for business.
A reorganization plan that will shuffle departments has not been finalized, but consensus is forming on options. Once the county's new buildings, now being constructed, open late this year and early in 2006, departments in the courthouse and nearby Service Building -- the two buildings are connected by an underground tunnel -- will relocate to them.
The court administration office, which is now on the courthouse's third floor, will be moving to the new Judicial Center. Tuesday county commissioners appeared to be leaning toward putting the assessor's office in that vacated third-floor space.
The county board is expected to use the courthouse's third floor historic courtroom for meetings. The move will give them more space to accommodate the public than is currently available in the board room.
Other relocation options include moving the planning and zoning office, now temporarily housed in the lower level of the courthouse, to the main floor of the Service Building once Social Services moves out. The surveyor and land offices also would move to the Service Building's main floor.
The Service Building's lower level now houses the county attorney, corrections offices, courtrooms and a meeting room. That space could be renovated slightly to give the county more options for meeting space.
On the courthouse's second floor, the treasurer's office could move into space vacated by the assessor and the auditor's office would then have room to expand. Commissioners were not sure about an option to add staff restrooms to the second floor next to the elevator. Currently bathrooms are available on the third floor and the courthouse's main level.
The recorder's office, county administration would remain on the courthouse's main floor in the preferred option and be joined by the University of Minnesota Extension Service. The recorder's office would have space to expand. The county's emergency management offices would stay in the courthouse's lower level along with mechanical services and a staff break room.
The county budgeted $1,275,000 for the Service Building remodel and has spent $102,000 of that so far. The courthouse remodeling budget is $1,175,000 and $314,000 has been spent so far, largely for the new elevator.
Peter Herlofsky Jr., county administrator, said the project appears to be on budget.
RENEE RICHARDSON can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or 855-5852.
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