Starting today, several county government offices will be operating out of a new location.
Seven departments, including business licenses, planning, building inspections, environmental health, geographic information systems, marshals and engineering, will be headquartered in the new Hall County Government Center at 2875 Browns Bridge Road.
Those departments will join the elections office, which is already established in the building.
“The intent of the move, overall, is to provide better service for our citizens,” said Randy Knighton, Hall County administrator. “This provides the opportunity for various departments to move to a centralized location.”
Departments will continue to move to the new building through this month and into October.
The human resources department is slated to move later this month, while the tax commissioner’s and tax assessor’s offices are planning the move for mid-October.
The administration and finance departments will make the move in late October, Knighton said.
The departments now operating out of the new building moved from two locations: the Development Services Building on Prior Street and the Joint Administration Building that formerly housed the engineering division.
“Right now we have three different locations for administration, planning and engineering and any time a citizen walks into planning ... there are several other agencies they likely need to go to,” said Srikanth Yamala, head of the planning department. “(Now), I think from that perspective, they can just come in and take care of business from planning and engineering at the same time.”
The new government center was purchased for $6.1 million using special purpose local option sales tax revenue, and renovations are budgeted at $2.9 million.
“This will bring us all together,” Knighton said. “This will allow us to provide better service and it will also enable our departments to be more efficient.”
Yamala said his department works closely with the engineering and administration department and, in the past, the two departments had to travel across town to meet.
“If we have a need to talk to administration, you used to have to get in the car,” he said. “Now all we have to do is go upstairs. So, from that perspective, it will be a whole lot easier.”
Yamala said the move will create various challenges for his department, but those are inherent in any move. The opportunities and benefits, he said, are likely to outweigh the potential challenges.
“There are certain challenges and opportunities at the same time,” he said. “Right now everyone is concentrating on the opportunities and once we get settled in I think we will address any minor challenges we may have. But as of now, everything looks good.”