The Hastings City Council voted Monday to hold up on approving up to $200,000 in spending on a temporary relocation of municipal employees now housed in the City Building to refuge quarters at North Denver Station.
When an item to approve the expenditure came up on the agenda at Monday’s regular council meeting, Councilman Chuck Rosenberg promptly moved to delay consideration of the measure until the June 28 meeting and add discussion of the matter to the council’s June 21 work session agenda.
Rosenberg said he had some questions about aspects of the proposal. Councilman Butch Eley seconded his motion to table.
The delay was approved by a vote of 5-1, with Councilman Shawn Hartmann dissenting. Council President Ginny Skutnik and Councilwoman Joy Huffaker were not present.
The city is seeking to temporarily move employees out of the City Building, 220 N. Hastings Ave., and into North Denver Station, 1228 N. Denver Ave., because of environmental quality issues, and associated health and safety concerns, in the City Building related to the condition of the structure. The council needs to gather information on how much it would cost to mitigate water infiltration, radon, asbestos and mold problems in the building and upgrade security there.
City officials estimate preparing the necessary space at North Denver Station, which is Hastings Utilities headquarters, would run $180,00-$200,000.
According to agenda materials for Monday’s meeting, the breakdown of that cost estimate includes $30,000 to situate the city’s Development Services Department in the northwest area of the old turbine room at North Denver; $75,000 to shelter the city finance department and meeting spaces into two, 12-by-60-foot office trailers for up to three years; and provide for the information technology needs of the city’s administration and human resources departments.
City Administrator Dave Ptak recommended approval of the budget not to exceed $200,000.
In view of the City Building’s structural and environmental problems, officials have floated the possibility of leaving building behind entirely and moving the employees now housed there to North Denver Station on a permanent basis.
Hastings Utilities is the city’s utility department, and city leaders have been working over the last several years to more fully integrate city hall and HU operations, anyway.
Monday’s meeting was conducted at the Hastings Public Library since the City Council chambers in the City Building will be unavailable for use during the investigation of renovation options for the structure.
By separate 5-1 tallies, the council voted Monday to amend city code allowing use of the library for their regular meetings and work sessions, respectively, for the time being.
Eley dissented in those two votes, citing the fact that municipal workers haven’t yet been moved out of the City Building.
“I think it’s a poor visual for the council to move out of the building while the employees are still there,” he said.