As a resident of San Dimas, I am sort of wondering what is wrong with the old city hall. Why does it need to be renovated? I have been bringing my children there for summer activities since they were infants. With the exception of needing new floors and paint, I can’t seem to find anything wrong with the existing structure. JD
City officials think they can save $1 million in loan costs on the $13 million City Hall renovation project.
All five city councilmen and city staff met last week to discuss the final details of the project, including a temporary City Hall move and the type of loan used to pay for the project.
“I am against the rebuilding of City Hall,” Councilman Denis Bertone said. “But the financing mechanism that the city is going to use is probably good.”
The project includes three portions: a City Hall renovation and expansion estimated at $9.2 million, an expansion of the Plummer Building near City Hall at $2.6 million and a revamp of the plaza at $1.1 million.
The projects together are estimated to cost slightly more than $13 million, City Manager Blaine Michaelis said.
The current City Hall has been in use since 1969.
The City Council voted 4 to 1 in favor of the renovation, with Bertone the dissenting vote.
“I understand where Denis is coming from. There are lots of things we could do with the money we are spending,” Councilman John Bonier said. “However, the City Hall is over 40 years old, and while it is not an ancient building, it is outdated in a lot of respects.”
The city plans to borrow $7.5 million for the project and pay an additional $5.5 million from its general fund. The city has about $17 million in its reserves.
Final approval on project bids will be Feb. 23, when the council
can approve either the City Hall renovation or all three projects, Michaelis said.
At Tuesday’s meeting, a majority of the council appeared to agree on a leasing option through the League of California Cities for 15 years that put the estimated full cost of the loan at $11,126,087, after interest rates are assessed.
Alternative options included 20-year loans costing $12.2 million, $12.8 million and $14.3 million respectively.
The more popular choice now on the table saves the city more than $1 million over the long term versus other options presented Tuesday, but the city will have to make payments of $741,739 a year to pay down the debt.
That total is $100,000 more than two other options considered for approval.
“It saves money in the long run,” Bertone said. “We can afford to do the higher payments.”
Mayor Curt Morris requested to see how the lease would play out if variable interest rates were used instead of a fixed rate, but he was still in favor of the 15-year loan until he saw something that swayed him, he said at Tuesday’s meeting.
Management and construction of the project have been awarded to Griffin Structures Inc., but bidding for various subcontracts – including plumbing and 34 others – begins Thursday.
If bids come under budget, the city would spend less from the general fund but still borrow the $7.5 million, Michaelis said.
Now the city must prepare to move its operation to the old Levity Building while construction begins at City Hall.
City Hall will move to the temporary site at 130 Village Court on March 5, and the move will cost the city about $300,000, officials said.
The temporary offices will be fully operational, and at 48,000 square feet will house every employee and still have room for storage space, officials said.
City officials hope City Hall is only closed to the public for that Friday due to the move, Assistant City Manager Ken Duran said.