A non-profit substance abuse counseling and treatment agency would like to rent space in the Piatt County Office Building, but the request was put on hold while the county looks into questions of security and what rent would be charged.

The Family Guidance Center contacted county transportation engineer Eric Seibring recently about the option of renting.

“We do have space available,” said Seibring at a May 29 meeting of the county building and grounds committee, but noted he had some “personal concerns” which revolve around security issues.

“I have hesitations about bringing people into the building because of the lack of security measures,” said Seibring, noting there is only a limited set of security cameras currently installed. There is also no secured entryway.

Without knowing more detail, Sheriff Hunt couldn’t peg whether there would be a higher risk if the rental is approved.

“I’m not sure. I can’t put my finger on it and say, ‘you’re going to have a higher risk,’ because I don’t know,” said Hunt.

Piatt County Mental Health Center Director Tony Kirkman pointed out his agency – and Kirby Medical Center – already provide court-ordered evaluations and treatment. He also wondered if Family Guidance Center could survive without a drug court being established in Piatt County. In those cases judges could specify where substance abuse evaluations could be done, something that cannot be done currently.

There has been preliminary discussion of establishing a drug court, but nothing has been decided. Even if the county pursues it, Kirkman estimated it would take at least a year before it is operational.

He also noted that, while Family Guidance Center would initially operate a counseling center only, that treatment is something the non-profit has talked about adding in the future.

What to charge for rent is also a question the committee had no answer for at this point. A majority of PCOB occupants pay little to no rent as county agencies.

“We really have no full-blown rental type price established,” noted Seibring.

Committee Chair Ray Spencer commented, “I don’t have a problem with it,” but understood the need to gather more information before a decision is made.

County Sheriff David Hunt suggested the committee get an opinion from the state’s attorney’s office. Committee members agreed, tabling the rental request until it gains more information and a legal opinion.

In other action, the committee:

–added two outside Terminex treatments annually, adding $90 to the contract;

–was told two trees at the courthouse may need to be removed within the next year. The recommendation came after an inspection by an area arborist; and

–heard from Hunt that the Sheriff’s Department is in the midst of replacing its electronic fingerprinting system.