Workforce center vacating county building

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FORT MADISON – Lee County supervisors are looking at options to fill space in the North Lee County Office Building after hearing the state’s Workforce Development Center will be leaving the building effective July 1.

At Tuesday’s regular meeting of the board of supervisors, Supervisor Gary Folluo said he received notice last week that the center is leaving the building due to funding cutbacks, but said he’d like to have the county attorney review the lease to see if their reasoning is sufficient to get out of the lease with the county.

Follou said the IWD will be moving to the Fort Madison Public Library two days a week on Monday and Wednesday from 9:30 to 4:30.

Larkin said there is language that says the state can get out of the lease if they experience funding hardships, but he said they should be made to prove that hardship.

“We received a letter on that quite a while ago, maybe a month ago, that they were going to be leaving,” Larkin said. “They put down the reason for leaving as funding was short. According to the contract, according to funding they could back out of the contract. Well I don’t know that the state not appropriating enough money for them means it’s not enough funding. They just gave everything else in the tax cut to everyone else, does that necessarily mean they don’t have enough funding?”

Larkin said he requested for County Attorney Ross Braden to review the contract between the state and the county.

“I just want to make sure they are following the contract,” Larkin said during a workshop session following the meeting.

Chairman Don Hunold said he was pretty sure the state was following the contract, but said the county needs to look at finding someone else to move into the building to use the space.

Folluo said his first reaction was to move the North Lee County Attorney’s office into the county building and sell the current building.

Lee County Auditor Denise Fraise said the county needs to be mindful of the other entities that use the building.

“The only thing is there are people upstairs in that building that we have to provide places for like juvenile probation. I’m not sure how often they are there or how many people are in there, but there are people up there, too,” Fraise said.

Other suggestions included offering the space to the Lee County Economic Development Group. Hunold asked the supervisors to keep the idea in mind as filling the space could help the county save money or possibly rent the space out.

In other action, the board:

-approved a bid to replenish the county’s stock of metal culverts for $30,284

-approved version 4 of the Continuity of Government plan for Lee County

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