Council moves on campus plan
The Washington City Council is looking for a few good people to help plan the new fire station that will be constructed as part of the “campus plan” the council has adopted to deal with space needs in the Washington Municipal Building.
During a special session Tuesday evening, the council began discussing the procedure for moving ahead with the plan. According to Washington City Administrator Brent Hinson, the council will have to set up the eight- to 10-person committee and make some arrangements to line up for the project. Hinson recommended the April 18 meeting for when the council will appoint the committee.
“We haven’t had forward motion on the project for several years,” Hinson said. “Now we have the opportunity and I think we should move forward.”
The council had explored possibilities to create more space for city offices — city hall, the police department and the fire department — for at least five years. Originally the council had discussed using the former library as a city hall. When new members were seated on the council at the end of 2015, the members rejected the idea in favor of the “campus option,” which will construct a new fire station and renovate the existing municipal building.
Council members Millie Youngquist and Kerry Janecek were absent from the meeting. Council member Jaron Rosien said serious discussion should be held when all members are present.
Hinson recommended members of the fire department on the committee and members of the council. He recommended choosing people who would stick with the process. He also said eight to 10 members would provide a wide range of opinions without being too large. He said the council could do all the work, but it would require at least 50 additional meetings this year.
Several things were identified for the committee to complete before the end of the 2017 calendar year. Hinson said the committee needs to get all the details out of the way this year so the city can move ahead with construction next year. He said next year the financing would be available because on June 1, 2018, two city bonds — which were used to construct the new library and the downtown streetscape project — would retire.
“We have been planning for five years to replace that debt with this new debt,” Hinson said.
Council member Kathryn Salazar said she is concerned that appointing a committee on April 18 was moving too fast because the city hadn’t closed on the sale of the former library. Hinson said the date of the closure had moved up to April 14. Previously, the closing date was May 2.
Hinson commented the metal building to be built on a clear lot that will be the fire department isn’t a complicated project. He said the work would be getting an architect and contract assessor arranged. When the project begins, he said, the committee would mostly receive monthly construction reports.