Watchdog: State could save money using empty office space it owns instead of renting

Sen. David Blount, D-Jackson, who has pushed for years to consolidate state agencies in the Capitol area of downtown Jackson, said such a move also would provide easier access to services and help revitalize downtown.

“These agencies are scattered all around the metro area, and that’s not good for customer services, and it means we are inefficient and wasting money,” Blount said. “… State agencies should be in downtown Jackson near the Capitol and provide ease of access and to save money and to reinvigorate the capital city.”

Blount said: “The first thing we should do is take advantage of all the buildings we already own. Next, I believe the state when it makes financial sense should purchase a building instead of leasing.”

The report said that despite the state owning 5.2 million square feet of office space worth $1.95 billion in the Capitol Complex area, 33 state agencies, boards and commissions rent more than 1 million square feet of office space in the metro area for about $10.4 million a year. PEER noted that there is currently more than 13,000 square feet of empty office space in the Robert E. Lee State Office Building alone.

Clarion Ledger