Seven months after appointing a City Hall Advisory Committee and several discussions later, the City Council provided direction to place a $10.99 million, 18,082 square foot City Hall project on the November 7 general election ballot. The Council also provided direction to use city funds from retired bond debt for a $1.8 million Police Station expansion of 3,102 square feet, to be designed and constructed together with City Hall.
The decision was based upon input from the community to make the project as affordable as possible with no frills after previous measures were considered too expensive and recognizing the current economic climate. “If we want to get support from the citizens, from the voters, we have to show that we’re being exceptionally cost-conscious and watching every dollar and making every decision based on a recognition of how it is affecting their (our) pocketbooks,” stated Councilmember Bryan Wahl.
The City Hall Advisory Committee had recommended not including the Police Station on the November ballot with concerns that the estimated cost to complete both projects would not reach the 60 percent needed for approval. Their recommendation was also based upon feedback from the community that a City Hall proposal should be considered separately from the Police Station expansion. Therefore, the Committee recommended that the Police Station expansion be placed on the subsequent February 2018 ballot for $1.8 million contingent upon the City Hall proposal passing in November. Their intent was for the projects to be designed and constructed together as a cost saving measure.
Over the past six weeks of review, the City Council expressed a strong desire to include the Police Station expansion in the project after listening to citizens who provided input at community meetings, Council meetings, and via City Hall comment forms. The goals to stop leasing space and keep the project affordable, however, were their top priorities.
At their June meetings, the Council asked for alternative funding ideas for the Police Station expansion and additional space reduction options. As a result, the Council received a proposal at their July 13 study session that further reduced the Committee’s recommendation by over 1,100 square feet.
The reductions included combining the proposed waiting area outside of Council Chambers with the lobby space and eliminating records storage space and consolidating it with space allocated for future employees. City Manager Scott Hugill stated that the city would work on a plan to digitize and store those records over the next few years. The total space reductions brought the cost of City Hall down to $10,998,820.
The Council also discussed whether or not to utilize debt funding that will be paid off in 2020. To accomplish the goals of having a cost-effective, affordable City Hall and a much needed expansion of the Police Station, the Council provided direction to utilize the retired debt funds for the Police Station component of the project. The City Manager explained that the city would have to cover $100,000 annually in 2018, 2019 and 2020, until those retired debt dollars are available for the Police Station expansion.
Although full design of a new City Hall is not yet determined, the Committee recommended a preliminary layout that evolved from input at their community meetings. The layout would provide an opportunity to modernize the Police Station with a new facade to fit in with the City Hall building. The additional Police Station space would likely include security improvements such as a sally port to transport suspects in and out of the building. If a measure is approved in November, final design would occur in 2018-19 and construction in 2019-2020.
The City Council has scheduled a special meeting on Thursday, July 20 at 7:00 p.m. to consider a draft ordinance to put a proposition for City Hall on the November ballot. In addition, the City Council will appoint members to serve on the Pro and Con Statement Committees. These documents are due to Snohomish County Elections by August 1.
For more information, please email email@example.com or call Community Relations Director Virginia Olsen at (425) 744-6206.