Although word of the potential sale of a county service building located in Walled Lake is bad news from the standpoint of a loss of convenience for some area residents, a significant windfall for the county, projected annual savings and even a boost in the city of Walled Lake’s tax base make the prospect of the building’s closing a little easier to swallow.
According to county officials, services provided at the county’s West Oakland Office Building in Walled Lake can be provided in a more cost-effective and efficient manner at other locations, prompting the Oakland County Board of Commissioners to consider selling the building to Agree Development.
The county would be paid $675,000 for the building, which the county has owned since 1980, if the Board of Commissioners approves a purchase agreement and the Farmington Hills-based developer does typical due diligence investigating the 17,000-square-foot, single-story structure situated on 1.64 acres.
Savings for the county in the first year following the proposed sale are expected to be $310,000, and the deal could save the county up to $135,000 per year after that.
County departments currently housed in the building, located at 1010 E. West Maple, include the Health Department, the Probation Department of the Probate Court, the Circuit Court Family Division, and the Information Technology communication hub.
The county board’s Planning and Building Committee, which is now considering the proposed sale, is “still talking about it” and awaiting a presentation from Health Department Director George Miller, according to Oakland County Commissioner Philip Weipert (R-Walled Lake, Wixom).
Selling the county building would force many west Oakland residents to travel farther to receive the services they now get at the Walled Lake site — certainly not a positive development.
Yet the building sale is not without benefits, including a one-time injection of nearly $700,000 into the county’s coffers, and savings of $850,000 for the county in the first five years after the sale.
And because government-owned buildings and land are tax-exempt, the sale of the building to a private sector entity would put the county building back onto the tax roll. The sale wouldn’t make the city of Walled Lake and other tax authorities suddenly flush with cash, but it would be movement in the right direction in the midst of a revenue crisis.
It’s unfortunate that convenience will be sacrificed, but one can’t blame the county for considering the sale as a means to improve efficiency and realize ongoing savings.