Murray County Sole Commissioner Greg Hogan announced the county’s purchase of the former Wells Fargo bank building for $385,000 to help expand county offices and give customers the option of driving through when they need to pay their taxes.
Hogan wanted to assure county residents that funding for the purchase comes from both the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act which was signed into law on March 27, providing financial relief for communities and Special Local Option Sales Tax. Murray County received about $1.8 million in relief funding.
“We are not using tax dollars on this,” said Hogan.
He explained the purchase of the Wells Fargo building meets the conditions set forth in the act because the drive-through window allows for social distancing and limited in-person contact.
“During the shut down, we were still open,” said Hogan. “Many of the older residents just want to go to the office to pay the bill.”
The former Wells Fargo bank is located at the intersection of Ga. Hwy. 41 and Ga. Hwy. 52 Alternate and other than minor cosmetic changes, the building is move-in ready, he said.
Billy Childers, tax commissioner, said the building will need about $6,000 of renovation, mostly customer interface partitions and the county will use inmate labor to make many of the renovations.
“This was much cheaper than building a place,” Childers said.
Hogan said the building would provide much needed room for city hall.
“About 12-percent of our population comes through the tax commissioners office every month. That’s about 3,500 people per month just for motor vehicle taxes and tags,” said Hogan.
The building offers 2,820 square feet including basement, main floor and an upper level. It comes with a safe and a working drive through, which the city plans to utilize.
“We expect many of our senior citizens to use it, ” said Tommy Parker, County Manager. “What we were surprised by was how many mothers wanted a drive-through option. It makes it easier when you children in a car seat and if they are napping, you don’t want to wake them.”