Joint Government Center Changes Coming Soon

Joint Government Center building use policies may soon be in place that will provide improved access to the facility for non-government meetings and events. Changes are also being planned for the inside the building which will soon feature artwork in atriums and the stairwell .

A Public Meeting Space

In its Wednesday meeting the county’s Joint Government Center Building Committee juggled improved access to the new office building against preserving existing meeting room rental business at other facilities throughout the county.

“We’re not trying to be the low-cost alternative here,” said County Administrator David Ash.

Ash and other committee members are sensitive to not taking meeting room rental revenue from other county groups that offer space including Boyce Fire Department, Blue Ridge Fire Department, Enders Fire Department, Ruritan Fairgrounds and the Clarke County Recreation Center.

The Committee outlined broad guidelines for facility use:

• Facility should only be used for those things/purposes for which it was designed.

• Use of the facility is not intended to take business from volunteer organizations.

• Town Council and Board of Supervisors reserve right of use.

• Groups that are not Town or County affiliated must sign a legally binding agreement stating that they have read and understand the guidelines.

• An employee shall be on duty during after-hours use by outside user groups.

• Each type of use must be approved in detail.

• Use Recreation Center rates as a guide for developing fees.

Atrium Beautification

The committee is also working on establishing a policy for managing displays and art work displayed inside on the building’s walls and atria. Discussions with the Clarke County Historical Association have indicated a willingness on the part of CCHA to provide historic photos that reflect the life and times of Clarke County and Berryville. Images will be regularly rotated to promote interest and appearance in the exhibits.

Fiscal Agency for Building Costs

At Wednesday’s meeting the committee took a step towards streamlining the county-town cost sharing agreement for the facility. The committee directed Joint Administrative Services (JAS) director Tom Judge to design a fiscal agency plan that will allow costs to be apportioned between Berryville and Clarke County governments based on usage rates and square footage occupancy.

Judge’s task is to design an approach for splitting costs. In an initial draft plan Judge suggested that utility bills, insurance, cleaning and trash services would be apportioned based on occupancy by square footage while telephone costs would be assessed directly to individual handsets.

Under the fiscal agency approach the Town of Berryville will advance funds annually to the fiscal agent, Mr. Judge, with an annual settlement based on a JAS budget estimate in advance of the coming fiscal year.

Other Joint Government Center News

Library Return Box Placement: The committee has revised plans for modifications to the library return boxes. While the library return boxes will still be moved to a location further from the building’s main interest, the drive-up feature will not be eliminated. Instead, library patrons will be provided with a reserved parking space in which to park and then walk to the library return box if desired or may continue to “drive-up and drop-off” as before. Library boxes will be moved in November.

Proposed relocation site for library return box - Photo Edward Leonard

Panic Bars: With so many people attending so many meetings at the Joint Government Center, making sure the last person out the door locks up can be difficult. Installation of  “panic bars” that automatically lock  atrium doors when exited should be completed this week. However, Berryville Police will still “rattle” the doors on a nightly basis to make sure that everything is locked up.