Knoxville — Facilities planning for Marion County's future is ongoing, and the latest chapter includes finding a home for the few Department of Human Services employees who remain in the County.
DHS asked months ago for improvements to its current location, or finding a new home for services. The Marion County Board of Supervisors has also appointed a subcommittee, charged with coming up with a recommendation for current and future disbursement of County offices and services, among the County's buildings.
DHS has offered the County $365 a month, the rate it is currently paying, to move into the former Public Health building at Sixth and Main in Knoxville. The move would increase the amount of space DHS has, from 400 square feet, to 1,400, according to Board Chairman Craig Agan.
Agan does not believe that fee is sufficient for the increased space, especially when Marion County is paying Warren County $25,000 to allow local residents to receive services in Warren County. This agreement became effective shortly after DHS announced that it was greatly reducing its presence in Marion County a few years ago. The move by DHS did not save the State any money.
"It's like they're not willing to work with us on anything," Agan said of the DHS.
"It's better to have rent than not," Supervisor Mark Raymie said. One concern the board has is that if it enters into an agreement with DHS for the Sixth Street annex, that space will not be available for County services.
Marion County Attorney Ed Bull suggested the board wait for the recommendations from its subcommittee before committing to any new agreement with DHS. Supervisor Jim Kingery believes that another offer from DHS could influence the board's decision regarding space allocation.
The board plans to meet with DHS representatives Friday morning. No time has been scheduled at the time of this post.