The Geary County Public Buildings Commission read a prepared statement at last week’s county commission meeting on Tuesday expressing concern that county commissioners were trying to stall progress on the Emergency Operations Center (EOC) that is slated to be built in the basement of the Geary County Office building at 200 East 8th Street.
The EOC has been a point of contention for the commission and concerns have been expressed with both the cost and the proposed location.
“This is not the time to do this and this is not the place because it’s going to cause other issues,” county commission chair Trish Giordano said.
The commission expressed concern with their storage capacity as well as their financial bandwidth to pay for both the EOC and renovations to the courthouse.
However, a contract was signed with Schultz Construction for the project last year which puts the commission in a tough spot.
“I’m not for it,” commissioner Alex Tyson said. “I understand there’s a contract and if we have to abide by that contact then that’s where I sit. But you guys can hear it from me, I will not vote to use county funds on the courthouse project. That’s where I stand, I’m not going to argue.”
Pat Collins, a former emergency manager from Manhattan, spoke in favor of the EOC during the meeting:
“Having someplace where we can immediately get together and coordinate that disaster makes all of the difference,” Collins said. “I don’t have any idea where you get the money and I don’t have a dog in this fight. But I would say if you’re going to have a place for coordination it needs to be big enough to handle the situation and it should be in your county-owned building. I’ve done it in a city-owned building and you never have the access to do things that you need to do.”
The commissioned scheduled a work meeting to discuss the issue further with the PBC and other involved parties for Monday afternoon. The meeting took place after press time of this paper.