County’s look into future needs underway

Ellis County commences facilities needs assessment and long-range planning process

Staff report
Seth Ackland of Kitchell (with remote) gives a presentation detailing the needs assessment process to county department heads (right).

During its kickoff meeting on June 21, Ellis County commenced its facilities needs assessment and long-range planning process through Kitchell, a building services firm, and its partner HOK, a professional design firm, to update county facilities for future population growth.

In May, the Ellis County Commissioner’s Court entered into a professional services agreement with Kitchell to analyze future facilities needs, develop a long-term strategic plan, and implement construction projects. Now, the first phase of the process has begun; the team is working with each county department to determine current and future needs to address the anticipated increase in demand for county services.

Despite county departments expanding office space, Ellis County’s representatives remain committed to the principles of limited government.

“It’s not the size and scope of government that is expanding,” assured County Judge Todd Little, “it’s the number of citizens we serve. We believe government should be present in the lives of our citizens only when they need it, but when they need it, we want it to do its job well. This long-term needs assessment will allow Ellis County to adapt to a rapidly-growing population which increases the need for customer service.”

The facilities needs assessment started at a basic level: Kitchell representatives toured each county building and took note of the space utilized by each county department. Once the information gathering phase is complete, the team will utilize new census data and population growth projections to develop a long-range planning vision for the county. The focus will be on providing value to the county, preparing for the future growth, and utilizing funds and resources as efficiently as possible.

The team will continue working with a steering committee as a resource and sounding board as they prepare for public workshops and presentations to the Commissioners Court for findings, recommendations, and decisions over the course of the next 5 months.