Fresno County Assessor-Recorder Paul Dictos was angry and upset when his offices in the county Hall of Records building were rained on in a sprinkler accident last July.
Fast forward nine-plus months and you likely won’t find a happier public official in Fresno. He’s upbeat because his new offices are opening next week on the second floor with all new equipment, upgraded lighting, carpeting, desks, phones, computers, chairs, wiring and lighting.
“It’s a new day,” Dictos said. “People are excited here. They want to move in as soon as possible.”
He is eager to show off his agency’s new digs with a grand opening on Friday from 2 to 4 p.m. Refreshments will be served. It will be open to the public in about a week.
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The office is painted in light blue and the clean walls are a source of pride.
“I don’t think the walls were painted for 60 years,” Dictos said.
The building was constructed in the 1930s and added onto in the 1950s. Last July’s flood, caused by a sprinkler struck by a contractor during a renovation at the assessor-recorder third floor offices, closed the 86,000-square-foot building for three days while workers checked for water damage to mechanical equipment in the basement. About a quarter of the building’s offices were affected.
People are excited here. They want to move in as soon as possible.
Paul Dictos, Fresno County assessor-recorder
Estimates suggest that 7,000 gallons of water cascaded into offices on all three floors and the basement, damaging files, wiring, office furniture and anything else in the way.
The new office will have about 40 employees and be open to the public with small, private rooms for financial discussions with property owners.
Access to the recorder’s office remains on the third floor. The recorder’s office is expected to move to a site on Van Ness Avenue later this year.
After that occurs, Fresno County supervisors could spread their offices into the existing recorder’s area for additional office space on the third floor.
Board Chairman Buddy Mendes said a space analysis has to be conducted before any decisions are made on moving.
“I think it’s something we’re going to look at,” Mendes said.
Insurance paid for most of the repairs, but new chairs, computers, desks and office equipment cost about $300,000, Dictos estimates.
Damage to the building was estimated at $1.5 million. The county’s insurance picked up most of the tab.