Residents speak out at commission meeting amid talks of building new Clay County Annex

LIBERTY, Mo. -- More than a dozen people spoke out against building a new Clay County Annex at Monday's commission meeting.

The Clay County Annex near N.E. Vivion and N.E. Antioch roads in Gladstone is where residents go to handle certain life necessities.

The county commission has had recent talks about selling the existing annex and building a new one for $20 million. But others argue it just needs to be renovated, not completely disregarded.

On Monday morning, it was standing room only for much of the Clay County Commission's more than 4-hour-long meeting.

"I would like to propose that we look at something that would cost less to the county rather than more," one resident said.

"There is no reason to be building bigger buildings for people to come to when the people are going to do it online," another said.

Other residents are frustrated with the condition of the current annex, which employees said has a leaking roof, plumbing issues, broken tiles, and an entire section of wall where the electrical outlets don’t work.

"I don`t know who is responsible for oversight of the facilities, but shame on you for letting it get in that condition," one resident said.

But the commissioners were quick to point out all they've done is ask for a few proposals.

"The buck stops right here with the three of us, and I appreciate your comments," Commissioner Luann Ridgeway said.

"Yes, the buck does stop here; however, I have tried on other occasions, other subjects to broach the facilities issue and found myself reprimanded," Presiding Commissioner Jerry Nolte replied.

"First of all, I'm not negotiating anything," Commissioner Gene Owen said. "We've asked for a couple proposals. We have two pieces of property. We've asked the owners of those properties to submit what they would take for the property. That's all we've asked. We haven`t negotiated anything."

"We're having a public discussion," Ridgeway said. "We haven't given any direction as to whether or not we're even interested in these properties."

No vote was taken Monday and no decision was made on the annex for now. That means everyone will have more time to think it through.

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