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County moves to buy workforce board property

Published: Tuesday, Jan. 14, 2014 4:54 p.m. CDT • Updated: Tuesday, Jan. 14, 2014 11:51 p.m. CDT

WOODSTOCK – The McHenry County Board is moving forward with buying the building now leased for use by the county Workforce Network.

Two County Board committees in two 5-0 votes are recommending the county spend $950,000 to buy the 500 Russel Court building, across from the county courthouse, which the Workforce Network calls home. The board’s lease expires June 30, and federal budget cuts have made the lease less feasible than owning the building, according to supporters.

The Workforce Network, funded through federal grants, offers programs and services for job seekers who need help in finding employment, and employers looking to find skilled workers. If approved by the County Board, the 10,000 square feet will continue to be home to the Workforce Network and the Workforce Investment Board that oversees it.

“We’re done in June – we need to find a home as soon as possible,” network Director Julie Courtney told the County Board Management Services Committee.

The County Board is expected to vote on the purchase Tuesday. Management Services recommended approval Monday, as did the Finance and Audit Committee the following day.

The county’s decision to buy the building comes after a review of the current lease arrangement and a search and cost analysis of other available lease sites of similar size, according to a memo prepared by county staff.

Buying the building conforms to county government’s master campus plan, which wants to keep its departments and functions centralized as much as possible at its Woodstock complex.

The workforce board is next to the county treasurer’s office, which used to be Cardunal Savings Bank until the County Board bought it in 2009.

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