County to Consider New Lease for AOA Building

By Beacon Staff

A co-owner of the building currently housing Flathead County’s Agency on Aging program asked the county commission for a two-year lease on Wednesday, and noted that the property will likely be up for sale soon.

Charles Lapp presented the Flathead County Commission with the information during a meeting on Oct. 30. The county has been renting a building on the Lapps’ property at the Alpine Business Center for 10 years to house the Agency on Aging program.

The set up has received considerable criticism this year, when members of the senior population called for a new facility based on health and safety concerns. In April, the commission voted to stop pursuing a federal grant for a new Agency on Aging building, though a county-funded architectural review of the site suggested moving AOA to the fairgrounds.

In July, the commission improved a county capital improvements plan that calls for allocating $2 million in fiscal year 2015 for a new Agency on Aging building.

On Wednesday, Lapp asked the commission for a concrete two-year lease. Since renting the building, the county has had three two-year leases, followed by more than three years of month-to-month leases. The requested two-year lease could stay at the current rent, Lapp said, for which the county pays $52,000 a year.

Lapp said he wanted a two-year lease because the AOA-requested snow brakes for the roof will “substantially change” the building design and the roof function, and he wants to make sure the alterations “will be enjoyed by the tenant.”

He also asked the county to be responsible for snow maintenance at the AOA building on the property, and noted that the previous agreements left that sort of responsibility up in the air between the landlord and the tenant.

“We feel that that should be the county’s responsibility,” Lapp said, adding that Alpine Business Center would continue to plow the rest of the facility.

As part of his presentation, Lapp also told the commission that Alpine Business Center will likely be up for sale soon, and that it could be an opportunity for the county since the parks and weed departments are located nearby.

“I see the opportunity there as the county looks at campus areas,” Lapp said.

Pricing information included with the paperwork Lapp gave the commission listed the insurance value on the building used for AOA at $750,630.

The property also includes several other structures, such as storage facilities and a building created for a window-washing business that currently houses a Crossfit program.

The only question Commissioners Pam Holmquist and Gary Krueger had after the presentation was about the timeline for signing a lease, since the county attorney’s office would have to draw one up.

Commissioner Cal Scott was not present at the meeting.

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