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New government complex is more than halfway complete

More than 60 percent of the new city/county government and judicial center in Thomson has now been completed, an official says.

And while construction continues on the new complex, local government officials are busy, too.

Their mission: A most complicated one.

It involves trying to figure out budgets and whether or not they have allotted enough money to adequately operate the new government center.

One of the main reasons it's been somewhat of a headache is that local officials have never been confronted with preparing such a budget before. In years past, each of the local governments - City of Thomson and McDuffie County - have designed budgets that reflected what they believed was needed to operate the buildings they occupy. Those calculations also have included the costs of utility bills, etc.

"A lot of work has gone into this new budget by the county and city," McDuffie County Manager Don Norton said. "We're hoping it's going to work."

Currently, city and county governments operate out of separate buildings. All of that soon will change once the new joint city/county government and judicial center is completed. Once that happens, both governments will be operating services under one roof.

"It will be like a one-stop government service," McDuffie County Commission Chairman Charles G. Newton, IV has said in the past. "It's going to be something we hope our citizens and employees are very proud to have."

A public hearing is planned for Tuesday, Sept. 21 in the grand jury room of the McDuffie County Courthouse in Thomson where residents will have the opportunity to ask questions about the proposed Fiscal Year 2011 county budget. The document can be viewed between now and then at the McDuffie County Library from Monday through Friday between the hours of 8:30 a.m. and 5:30 p.m. On Saturdays, the document can be seen between the hours of 10 a.m. and 4 p.m.

A tentative date of Tuesday, Oct. 6 at 10 a.m. has been set for formal adoption of the 2011 budget.

During last Wednesday's county commission meeting, Jud Bryant, projects manager for the new city/county government and judicial center informed commissioners that the building is between 65 and 70 percent completed.

The new complex is located near the intersection of Railroad and Greenway streets in downtown Thomson.

Mr. Bryant said Georgia Power Company has completed a revised plan for site lighting and proposes to furnish and install 100 percent of all of the 56 light poles, lights and covers at a cost of $200,000. The lighting system, which will be maintained by the electrical company, will be set up on a monthly billing of $870.24.

In addition, Mr. Bryant also announced that he recently had completed an inventory list of existing office furniture in government offices. There will be some new office furniture purchased for the new government center.

Representatives of Wakefield Beasley Architects "are currently meeting on-site with department heads to review their individual needs," Mr. Bryant said.

Web posted on Thursday, September 09, 2010

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