Maintaining state property

CAPITOL LETTERS

BY STATE REPRESENTATIVE DAN A. HUSEMAN

R-District 3, Aurelia

The Iowa caucus season is over except for the shouting and, this year, the counting. As of midafternoon last Wednesday, the Iowa Democratic Party was still tabulating results; this is too bad. Voting and counting should be a simple process! I am a Republican, but I really do feel bad for those Democrat candidates who have campaigned here in Iowa for the last 1-2 years, and had to wait two days to learn the outcome. They all moved on to New Hampshire where a primary was held this week. To them, Iowa will be a distant memory, and probably a bad one at that. After spending time talking to as many Iowans as they possibly could, and munching on corn dogs, chops and tenderloins, I have a feeling many of them left our state Monday night with a bad taste in their mouths.

We still have not had any floor debate ‚ÄĒ that could happen this week, so I thought I would share a little information on how the state takes care of the property it is responsible for. I was fortunate to have served as the chairman of the Transportation, Infrastructure and Capitals budget sub-committee for 12 years, and was able to witness first-hand what it is like to manage millions of square feet of property. In total, the State of Iowa owns and is responsible for 58 million square feet of building space.

Responsibility to maintain state property is organized into three different categories. First, several agencies manage all maintenance that occurs on agency-occupied properties. The Board of Regents manages a total of 39.8 million square feet of building space. The Department of Transportation operates 1,174 facilities totaling 4.1 million square feet. The Department of Public Defense manages a total of 4.1 million square feet and the Department of Natural Resources manages 2.8 million square feet.

Major maintenance for the Department of Human Services and the Department of Corrections is most often funded through line-item appropriations from the Rebuild Iowa Infrastructure Fund. Routine maintenance projects for these agencies are funded in operating budget which often receives the majority of support from the General Fund.

The Capitol complex includes the building, facilities and grounds around the Capitol Building and the Iowa Crime Labs in Ankeny. The Capitol Complex consists of 14 major buildings with 2.1 million square feet and is estimated to accommodate nearly 4,000 employees. Over 37 agencies have offices on the Capitol Complex and receive routine maintenance support exclusively through the DAS.

The Department of Transportation has a number of roles and maintains diverse facilities across the State to support its mission. In total, the DOT is responsible for all maintenance activities on 1,174 buildings, a total of 4.1 million square feet. These facilities include the main headquarters in Ames, road maintenance garages, storage buildings including salt storage buildings, rest areas, law enforcement scales, license stations, offices, land and radio towers.

The General Assembly appropriates the majority of funding used for DOT building improvements. Funds are appropriated from the Road Use Tax Fund and the Primary Road Fund.

The Department of Natural Resources manages all maintenance on a wide variety of structures that support various activities, including state parks, wildlife management, fish stocking, law enforcement and Honey Creek Resort. As a result, the infrastructure that the Department supports is varied and difficult to summarize. Examples of vertical infrastructure that the DNR supports include utilities, cabins, lodges and shelter houses, storage facilities, garages, historic buildings, restrooms, visitor centers and residences. In total, the DNR tracks over 1,700 buildings totaling over 2.8 million square feet.

The Department of Public Defense maintains over 485 buildings at 40 locations across the State. In total, the DPD maintains 4.1 million square feet in buildings and over 4,800 acres of land. Of this total, 3.1 million square feet and 451 buildings are owned exclusively by the state. The facilities include readiness centers, Camp Dodge, logistics buildings, training facilities and lodging.

Unlike other state agencies, the DPD receives substantial federal support for its facilities. Funding for all National Guard facilities is determined by the US Congress with input from the Army. Generally, the Iowa National Guard receives around $12 million annually from this process. The National Guard also receives federal funding that matches State appropriations. Without the State match, these federal dollars would be unavailable. In the past, matching funds required from the State have been between 25% and 50%.

Department of Corrections is responsible for routine maintenance on 39 total facilities that comprise nearly 6 million square feet. These buildings include the Community-Based Corrections Districts, penitentiaries and correctional facilities. Currently, the DOC has $90.9 million in outstanding major maintenance requests. This includes $80.2 million for correctional facilities on the major maintenance list, and an additional $10.8 million for the CBCs.

Department of Human Services responsible for routine maintenance on seven facilities that exceed 3.4 million square feet throughout the state. The DHS currently has $43.1 million in requests for major maintenance repairs.

As you can see, it is very costly to maintain these facilities. It would take at least $20 million per year to keep everything maintained, so it is an ongoing battle.

You may reach me at the Capitol during the week by phoning me at 515-281-3221, or at home is 712-434-5880. You may write me at the State Capitol, Des Moines, IA 50319. My home address is P. O. Box 398, Aurelia, IA 51005. If you have email, please contact me at dan.huseman@legis.iowa.gov.

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