Saturday, May 12, 2012

The Rectory and the Election Office

There's a little house next door to the election office that I often refer to as the rectory.

The set-up reminds me of churches when I was a kid, with a little house to the side of the church that housed several priests.  (A few years later, a couple of priests; later, "the" priest; now, an overnight house for the visiting priest).

Anyway, because I'm nerdy, I always thought how cool it would be to live there and walk over to the office.

The "rectory," which sits next to our office.  You can
see our sign underneath the left tree.
My wife, by the way, has never shared this dream.  And, the dream would be a depressing one if some day I wasn't reappointed as election commissioner and I sadly gazed out the back window to what used to be.  Plus, it would be pretty creepy for my successor.

Still, it would be cool.

And, NOW, the county has a chance to buy that house.

We've actually been hoping we'd move from this location because the building needs some costly love and our warehouse is full.  The place will handle about 2,000 advance voters each day in October but only about 150 fit into the building at any one time.

Buying the house could allow for the creation of a separate entrance and exit from the parking lot, something the Olathe police department would like.

Or, we could build a new office area in that place and convert our existing office space to a better area for training and voting.

Or, we could just have extra parking--now, during advance voting, we all park down the street in Sysco's parking lot (with their permission) and walk about a 1/4 mile to the office, right past the house.  If nothing else, we could cut through the backyard of the house and save a lot of the walking.

The house is worth approximately $100,000, so purchasing it seems like a smart move to me.  Worst case, it can be added to the area where our building is if the county were to sell it (our properly is worth about $2 million, and I think it would be worth more if torn down and built into a hotel--the economy kind of slow-rolled that possibility for now).

However, the valuation of our building has dropped about 20 percent in the past couple of years.  Perhaps this investment and parking lot modification would stave off further declines in this property's valuation (or bump it up slightly), recovering the investment.

The county ran into some controversy lately when purchasing a former bowling alley for possible future use as a museum, with a total investment of about $3.6 million.

So, even though this is a much smaller amount, there will be some trepidation to make the purchase.

The parks department also had its share of controversy recently after allowing employees to live in certain park properties tax-free.  The employees lived there as security for the park and to maintain the property.

With that in mind--unless my wife changes her mind in a hurry and we sell our house (unlikely, anyway)--the rectory concept will just be just that.

The item likely will be presented soon to the Board of County Commissioners.  It seems unlikely that anyone will ever buy that house to live in it because it's nestled in a commercial zone; the property is destined to be repurposed.

For nostalgia's sake, it will be a sad passing when the rectory is gone.