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County opts out of M&I lease

Not long ago, some Pierce County supervisors were interested in attempting to buy the M&I Bank building next to the courthouse.

Now, the county is giving up its lease on the building's upper level and moving 10 human services department workers to the county office building behind the courthouse.

The county has rented the M&I space for over 10 years and was most recently paying $50,100 a year to rent approximately 5,000 square feet.

The lease expires Aug. 1, but Administrative Coordinator Curt Kephart said the goal is to have economic support workers in their new offices by the end of June.

"This office is absolutely huge," said Kephart of the M&I space.

The Job Center, which was also in the bank, has been moved to River Falls, and West CAP offices are moving to space in the Ellsworth Village Hall. The food shelf, which was formerly in the office building, is now in the village hall, too.

Kephart said human services department workers will occupy offices on all three levels of the office building.

While the building committee wanted to look into buying the M&I building, other county supervisors didn't seem to be on board with the project, said Kephart.

"There appeared to be reservations expressed by some of the supervisors about moving forward with that," he said.

While the county has about $600,000 in a fund for property acquisition, the informal feedback he got from finance and personnel committee members was: "Don't go there yet," said Kephart.

"The county is not actively pursuing (the purchase of) the M&I Bank at this time," he said.