ROCKINGHAM — With the tax department’s administration and billing staff moving on Dec. 1, the transition to the new administration building is now complete, County Manager Bryan Land told commissioners earlier this month.
The tax collections staff moved into the new building in August. Vagas Jackson, tax administrator for Richmond County, said the move has allowed his department to provide better customer service because the new building has drive-thru lanes for bill collections.
“For me, being over here, I can deal with the customers better,” Jackson said. “I had to drive back and forth between the new building and the courthouse (before the move).”
Including Jackson, three employees have been relocated in the move. The others are Nina Morrison and Tarsha Covington.
The tax appraisals office will remain in the old Richmond County Courthouse, where new construction, appeals, land records, mapping, forestry report programs and land-use programs will continue to be handled.
County administrative personnel began moving from the old building at 125 S. Hancock Street to the former First Bank branch at 1401 Fayetteville Road in May.
Other county departments that have moved into the new building are: finance, water collection, county administration, planning, mapping, economic development, and veterans services.
This move is part of a concerted effort by county leadership to save money on utilities. Land reported to the board of commissioners at their monthly meeting that the county saved $1,900 in utilities relative to what would have been spent at the old location.
Commissioners first approved the agreement to purchase the former bank property in late 2014 for $1.7 million. At that time, then-County Manger Rick Sago called it a “win-win for everyone involved.”
The old administration building, which was built in 1934, is in need of major repairs. John Stevenson, president of the Richmond County Historical Society, said in November that building’s electrical and air conditioning infrastructure needs to be completely redone, among other fixes, which would put the cost of restoration at “millions of dollars.”
Land said there are no plans to move any additional county staff into the new building.
The building maintenance staff is still working out of the basement of the old building. Land said the maintenance staff will remain in their current location “for the foreseeable future.”
Reach Gavin Stone at 910-817-2674 or [email protected]