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Supes okay a $53 million-plus health, social services complex

John Rieping/The Madera Tribune

Julie Gregson, of the county’s Public Health Department, explains the benefits of an urban greening grant that will fund a walking trail with exercise stations at a new health and social services complex. Beside her stands Chief Administrative Officer Eric Fleming.


Virginia Lee Rose Elementary School will have a new neighboring campus in the future, though it won’t be academic.

This week Madera County supervisors unanimously approved the purchase of four parcels of property for $560,000 to build and lease buildings for a health and social services office complex near the school.

The $53 million, four-building complex will house the county’s Public Health and Social Services departments. The roughly 14-acre site will also feature recessed LED interior lighting, electric vehicle charging stations, a walking trail with exercise stations, and possibly solar panels to shade vehicles in the parking lot. An urban greening grant would help fund those amenities.

“It’s something that the community can share … People can go out there and just enjoy something green. Kids can come across the street from the school and partake of the courses,” said Julie Gregson of Public Health. “We’ve even thought about doing the geo caching that’s so popular with the kids right now, and doing little stations where they can find things.”

To maximize state funding, the county plans to sell the land for the project to developer Spencer Enterprises, which would design and build the complex before leasing it back to the county. Beyond a $3 million down payment, all remaining development costs would be included in the monthly lease payments. Supervisors adopted a similar “lease back” strategy for the sheriff department’s newest facility northwest of Madera.

Lease payments will last 25 years at $74,480 per month for the Public Health Department and 20 years at $264,600 monthly for the Department of Social Services, which will occupy three of the four buildings at the site. Public Health would have the option to buy its building at years 11, 16, 21 and 24 of the lease.

Public Health’s lease will be funded by a combination of Health Realignment and health grant programs, according to the county’s general services division. Social Services will be reimbursed for its leases through state and federal funding.

Though just outside of Madera’s eastern city limits, the complex is expected to connect to the city’s water and sewer systems. Approved by supervisors Tuesday, an infrastructure agreement with the city will require improvements to the site’s water, sewer, road, lighting and landscaping.

Construction is expected to begin early 2019.

Other matters

Supervisors approved the following other agenda items at its regular meeting Tuesday.

  • The hiring of Ryan Videgain as a deputy sheriff II on Dec. 1. Videgain is a longtime county resident with more than 14 years of law enforcement experience.

  • A proclamation declaring November 2017 as National Adoption Month to encourage county residents to celebrate adoption and honor families who adopt.

  • The purchase of audio visual multimedia and room control systems equipment, professional services and five year parts and labor warranty for $483,300 from Adaptive Integration. The gear, which would be financed by a lease, would replace aged equipment in the board’s chambers in the county government center.

  • An amendment to Madera County Code to increase fees for animal services due to rising costs, which include a 23 percent surge in pet food and supplies over the last 10 years. The revised fees, which will take effect Dec. 7, are not greater than the expense of providing the services, according to supervisors, and will boost annual revenue about $40,000 annually. They will be posted as a legal notice in the Tribune around Dec. 2.

  • The setting of a public hearing at 10 a.m. Nov. 21 on amending Madera County Code on the installation of water meters to measure flows and levels. Such meters are required for new and replacement wells and up until now have been handled by the Public Works Department. The amendment would demand annual data reporting instead of monthly, and reassign meter-related responsibilities to Environmental Health and Building divisions and to the Water and Natural Resources Department.

  • The reaffirming of past declarations that a tree mortality disaster and severe drought emergency exists in the county. The declarations maintain eligibility for particular state grants.

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