FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
August 1, 2023
Owyhee County Master Facilities Plan Process Engages Citizens Committee
MURPHY — The Citizens Committee of Owyhee County, formed as a component of the County’s Master Facilities and Comprehensive Financial Plan initiatives, convened its inaugural meeting on June 12th. The Committee consists of County residents and business owners. During the initial gathering, the Committee learned the current conditions of the County’s departments and corresponding facilities and or land (17 total) and immediate space needs. The Committee’s objective is to disseminate these findings to the community, gather input, and contribute to the ongoing process.
The Clearwater Financial and Insight Architects consultant team presented their findings derived from on-site assessments of the County facilities, 15 County official and staff interviews, and a comprehensive operational analysis of departments and interdepartmental operations.
The meeting encompassed a tour of various departments and offices situated at the Murphy campus, including those housed in the Courthouse, Sheriff facilities, and stand-alone buildings. To account for the considerable distance between County facilities, Committee members were provided with videos of over a dozen other County department locations ahead of the meeting.
Additionally, the consulting team presented a summary of their facility and operational assessments that highlighted findings such as:
- The Courthouse, (1936) was constructed robustly and can be renovated if necessary.
- Multiple County facilities suffer from inadequate and inequitable workspaces, parking facilities, and security measures.
- The County jail is nearing capacity and will necessitate expansion.
- Establishing a Sheriff’s satellite location near CJ Strike could enhance emergency response times and services.
- The coroner, currently located in the Marsing DMV office, lacks sufficient space for private meetings, and evidence storage.
- Covered storage locations would add protection from the elements and improve equipment use expectancy.
County Clerk Angela Barkell emphasized the significance of documenting facility conditions and needs and conducting annual reviews to effectively prioritize and serve the public in the current and future needs.
Furthermore, community stakeholders, including representatives from other public agencies, service providers, major employers, and community groups, were interviewed. Participants expressed their belief that the County is responsibly managing taxpayer funds and making diligent efforts despite budget constraints. Some common acknowledgements included:
- Insufficient space for public hearings, waiting areas, and parking at various facilities.
- Recent upgrades at the Fairgrounds have provided necessary space for youth activities.
- The need for full-time employees and consistent operating hours at County offices.
- Workforce recruitment challenges for both the County and other stakeholder entities.
The subsequent steps in the process will incorporate future demographic projections and consider various facility scenario options along with estimated costs followed by the Comprehensive Financial Plan phase. Together, these documents will offer long-term strategic guidance for future facility planning and budgetary decisions. Both phases are estimated to be completed by January 2024.
Voice your opinion on County facilities here: https://bit.ly/OwyheeSurvey
For more information about the Master Facilities Plan process, visit: https://bit.ly/3Jtvb3e
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Jon Brown, Managing Editor
Mountain Home News
Joy Martinez, Editor