Space Utilization Task Force notes – 2/5/2010

Notes from today’s Space Utilization Task Force meeting.

The seating arrangment for the task force members is interesting this morning.  The three members of the Allen County Council, Roy Buskirk, Paula Hughes and Paul Moss are facing the City Council members and away from the Commissioners.  In fact, one would almost think they are almost separated from the rest of the task force.

County Council Paulman Moss is giving a recap of what is being considered.  When he finished, he joked in response to a question from Moderator John Stafford, that he wasn’t taking questions.  The premise of option 3 is that 50,000 square foot of people would not need to be moved.  This would mean it would drop from an estimated average cost of $24.2 million down to $21.2 to $22.2 million.  If you take a further 15% off, which is what the architects think it would drop under a closer scrutiny, to $18.0 to $18.8 million.

Scenario #3 assumes that varying components of the following “Development Team” departments would be locate din close proximity to each other in the City-County Building.


  • Building Department
  • Surveyor
  • Highway Department


  • Fire Department
  • Storm Water Engineering
  • Sewer Engineeering
  • Water Engineering
  • Right of Way
  • Street Engineering
  • Street Light Engineering
  • Traffic Engineering


  • Board of Health

The architects are suggesting that an interview and tour be conducted with all affected departments (due diligence).  This would be to verify square footage requirements and visulization of space requirements.

Conceptual plans and assoicated costs would then be worked on.  These would include demolition plans, specs and security concerns.

They are stating a direction needs to be chosen.  Study one or two schemes only to last 6 weeks with a delivery date of March 19th.

The costs of services to be provided would be $10,000 for the first part of due diligence, another $30,000 for each scheme considered.

Outcomes include that the…

plan and cost options being more clearly defined.  $40,000 of the total cost of services would have been expended in the normal project process and would be rolled into the overal budgeted designfees.  Assuming of them is the final selection, the 6 week duration of the study would have een expended in the normal project process as well.”

Mayor Tom Henry is suggesting the City and County split the cost of the study so it can help them to make the right decision.

City Councilman Tom Smith is asking the Mayor what the number is he has in mind for the budget of the project.  Mayor Henry is insisting that the numbers can come in on track and be reduced further.  Councilman Smith is stating he feels the budget approved was the bond issue.

Councilman Pape is pointing out that the bond issue did not take into consideration co-location.  The city committed $8.6 million to the renovations.  Pape feels it is not wise to spend $70,000 without some decisions by the task force. He is proposing the County Council sell buildings they wouldn’t need with co-location and put that money into the renovations to cover the additional costs of co-location.

Councilman Moss is saying that the City Council made the decision to co-locate.  However, Pape and Mayor Henry are responding that was not what happened.

Mayor Henry is saying co-location has been worked at for the last five years.  He believes in a community solution.  They bought Renaissance Square because the Police Department needed a new building.  He originally thought it was 60,000 square feet, however turns out it is 80,000 square feet.  He contacted the County, they responded all they had, if co-location of public safety happened, would be the $3 million.  County said they couldn’t do more.  So, he was ready to move the City out.  He heard from several asking him to reconsider, hence the task force.  “I and those around this table have an obligation to be on the side of our community…I am trying to do that….I am not posturing….Regardless of 40 or 70 thousand, let’s bore down and make something happen.”

Moderator John Stafford is asking if the time and money proposed for the study worth it to look at cost-constrained numbers for 1 or 2 scenarios.

Paula Hughes is stating the County Council is in favor of spending $35,000 for futher studies. “We need to figure out a way to move through this as a community.”  County Council has been unwilling to commits to this without further exploration of the numbers because that is how the County Council operates.  Need to look at a possible building authority so that years down the road, repair costs aren’t being haggled over.

Councilman Smith is saying the crucial issue is over whether or not co-location of police departments should happen.  We seem to be moving ahead as if everyone is on the same page when we’ve not heard from the Sheriff’s and and Police Departments.

Councilman Pape is saying the City’s approach is to get detailed information from professional experts.  “No one can refute the best decision was to purchase this building.”  County decided to move first to New Haven Avenue, then to Adams Center Road without having professional studies.  We have an un0fficial extrapolation of what it would cost to build a new building for the Sheriff.  The $3 million the County has set aside is based on an estimate.  Need to find out if that $3 million is a fair number.

John Stafford is responding that getting more definite numbers takes the $3 million off the table and opens it up to what the more realistic numbers are and if they are worth it and palatable with the various Councils.

Councilman Pape is pointing out the $3 million is an integral part of the figures and has influenced County Council all along.  They are unwilling to spend more than $3 million because they feel it is an estimate of what it would cost to build the new facility.  But, it’s not a “drilled-down” cost.  Need to have a space use study of the outside six buildings owned by the County.  If the County would commit to selling the six buildings and putting the funds into renovations, it would be cheaper for them.  I’m not sure why we would go through the studies if the County wouldn’t commit to reinvesting proceeds from the sale of the six buildings back into the project.

Councilman Harper is pointing out he’d asked the same questions Pape is now asking when the purchase was before the City Council.  City Council went ahead and purchased the building without getting the answers then.

Councilman Moss is taking issue with Pape telling them what to do with the proceeds of sale of the six buildings.  It’s not about negotiations, it’s about cutting back the costs.

County Commissioner Linda Bloom is saying there are four buildings, about 70,000 square feet they want to sell and move into this scenario.  She is saying the other two would bring the total close to $3 million.

County Councilman Roy Buskirk just suggested there needs to be an attitude adjustment of some on the task force so they can work together.

Councilman Harper is motioning that the City and County split the $70,000 between City and County and that he would be honored if the Mayor would second it.

Mayor Henry stated he was ready to, however, now with new additional information, he thinks he needs additional information.  Councilmen Harper and Smith are pushing him for what that additional information is, is citing Bloom’s reference to information that the County has received studies they’ll receive possibly $3 million from the proceeds of building sales.  That would give the County up to $6 million to put into the project.  He thinks this needs to be answered before anything further happens.

There is some back and forth between Councilmen Moss and Pape about what the fundamental question is and how much the County should put into the project.

Councilwoman Hughes has seconded Harper’s motion.  Moderator Stafford is saying he thinks it appropriate to recess.  Mayor Henry is saying a week or two of recess is necessary due to some lost tempers and inaccurate statements.  Stafford is pointing out if they recess for two weeks, it will back up the entire process by that amount of time.

Councilman Moss is saying he doesn’t think anyone has said anything that inappropriate, Mayor Henry responded he did.  Mayor Henry is withdrawing his motion for recess and asking for roll call vote on hiring professionals.  Costs would be split 50-50.

Vote on doing both studies

Buskirk – yes
Hughes – yes
Moss – yes
Mayor Henry – no
Bloom – yes
Peters – yes, fan of option two, but important to know both scenarios
Harper – yes, give us information, moves process forward
Pape – no, concerned we’re going down the wrong road, 1st need to get commitment from all bodies.
Smith – yes, we know we have $18.9 million, let’s find out what they’ll cost – I don’t want to spend any more money.  I want everything done within that number.  It’ll make my decision more easier.

7-2 (?).  Mayor Henry is saying even though he voted against it, he’ll approve it so it can move forward and not go ahead the wishes expressed. He also feels there were inaccurate statements from a County Council member about him.

Stafford is saying he will call the group back together before the six weeks is up to talk about other options.  Possibly explore a building authority per Harper’s suggestion.

Councilwoman Hughes is offering to chair a sub-committee to explore Harper’s idea, whether or not the Sheriff and Police Department are on board with it.

Councilman Pape is saying there are other issues as well.  He doesn’t know how the cost estimates are going to be obtained without knowing who is going where.

Stafford is saying he’ll work on presentation by the Sheriff. He is encouraging the task force members to talk with each other.

Councilman Pape is pointing out there is a health side to these meetings and debate.

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  1. You mean that HIS HORROR, the mayor didn’t get his way? How different from paying for a long-unoccupied, pink elephant from one of his biggest political contributors!


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