The Clinton Herald, Clinton, Iowa

January 9, 2014

New plan presented for Camanche City Hall

By Amy Kent Herald Staff Writer
The Clinton Herald

---- — CAMANCHE — City leaders may reconsider a $300,000 revitalization project that would relocate the city’s current headquarters to a building that used to house the Camanche Pharmacy on Seventh Avenue in Camanche.

During his first meeting as an elected official, Councilman Marvin Lind on Tuesday presented the council an alternative to renovating the recently purchased pharmacy building, a plan that has been in the works for more than three months.

“When I ran for this election I wasn’t for purchasing the pharmacy building,” Lind said. “When I got to thinking about it I hadn’t heard any other options as we’ve been going through this whole thing. So, I asked Troy Sachsenmaier, because I know he has a construction background and mechanical engineer, to help me come up with some different ideas, to see if we’re spending the taxpayers’ money wisely.”

Lind’s proposal came at a meeting that also required action on a budget amendment that would allow the city the authority to spend $375,000 on the building purchase and renovation costs, if needed.

Although the council did inevitably approve the budget amendment, it came with the stipulation that those monies would not be spent on renovation costs without the council’s approval, and an in-depth look at Lind’s alternative option for the city hall project.

“I think moving forward here, to summarize a little bit, I think we have another option now,” Mayor Ken Fahlbeck said. “If we take this home and look at it a little closer, I believe it’s fair to everybody to go home and look at it.”

The proposal presented an in-depth look at what it would take for the city to construct a new building for City Hall located next to the Camanche Fire Station and Camanche Police station, placing all essential city service offices in one centralized location on Washington Boulevard and Ninth Avenue.

It also broke down each projected cost to constructing a new building and compared those figures to what it would take the city to renovate the existing pharmacy building, making it suitable for a City Hall location.

According to Lind’s research and figures, the pharmacy renovation would cost the city approximately $391,680 which includes a $50,000 supplemental parking lot that city officials have not agreed to, and the property’s purchase price of $175,000.

If the city were to build new, Lind estimated those costs would reach $324,620 with a proposed allowance of $384,770, saving the city nearly $36,000.

“I’m not saying this is the best idea, maybe this isn’t the best idea. What I’m saying is we need to take a step back because when you look at this, nobody’s ever come out and said we’ve compared these kind of costs,” Lind said. “Do I want to take my tax dollars and put in to a 30-year-old building when I can build something new for almost the same costs?”

Councilman Trevor Willis praised Lind for the work he put into the new project proposal, but questioned it’s feasibility in the eyes of the city.

“We don’t know if we have another option. There are things that have not been addressed; right-of-ways, utilities, et cetera, et cetera, et cetera. That will all have to be figured out and there are costs associated with figuring that out,” Willis said.

With the council’s acceptance of Fahlbeck’s suggestion to take a closer look at the proposal, plans to approve the pharmacy building layout design, which was also scheduled to take place at Tuesday’s meeting, has halted, putting city leaders once again in discussion about the future of a new Camanche City Hall.