The city of Corcoran has discovered that costs for remodeling City Hall to meet the city’s space needs have nowhere to go but up. 

The City Council decided to let the project go, for now, and look for a temporary low cost solution to a crowded City Hall next year after the Presidential Primary election. (City Councilors Mike Keefe and Alan Schultz were absent from the meeting, so they did not speak on the subject.)

At the meeting, the council also took up other business. Here are meeting highlights.

CITY HALL REMODELING

Back in May the City Council authorized city staff to finalize a design for floor plan Option A1 for a City Hall remodeling project that had an estimated cost of $1,353,000. The city aimed to complete construction in time for the 2020 Presidential Primary Election.

Oops. By August, contractor Kraus Anderson was estimating a cost of $1,885,861 for a slightly modified version of Option A1, according to City Administrator Brad Martens. Mechanical and electrical improvements would cost significantly more than anticipated – amounting to 40 percent of the cost. The contractor said there was no way to cut $300,000 or more from the project without significantly scaling back the features.

Kraus Anderson proposed three new options — a value engineered option costing $1,649,846, a City Hall North option costing an estimated $1,768,923 and option three costing less than $600,000.

Option three would involve finding an inexpensive way to add workspaces for city employees to extend the life of the building. The community room would be remodeled to accommodate workstations.

“If the pace of development continues, even with a significant investment, staff will outgrow this building likely in the late 2020’s. At that point a new building would likely be needed anyway,” Martens said.

He said option three would not solve space needs problems, such as lack of a break room for employees and lack of a place to hold staff meetings. However, city staff believes that, with creative planning, City Hall space would last through the mid 2020’s.

“With sound fiscal planning, the tax base of the community in the mid 2020’s should be sufficient to finance the significant investment that would be needed for a new city building,” Martens said. From 2019 – 2025, more than 900 new homes are likely to be constructed, and some non-residential investment is anticipated.

Next year, city staff will incorporate a draft financial plan for a new City Hall into the city’s five-year financial plan.

After the meeting, Martens said that going through the process of pricing out various City Hall remodeling projects was valuable. It helped Corcoran city staff understand that “this building, with any amount of remodeling, will not meet the long term needs of the community.”

NEW HENNEPIN COUNTY SHERIFF CHECKS IN

At the beginning of the meeting, new Hennepin County Sheriff David Hutchinson took time to meet the City Council before heading to downtown Minneapolis. That evening, protesters were gathering outside of the Vikings vs. Washington football game to voice opposition to the name of the Washington team.

Hutchinson said Hennepin County is the second county in the country to provide anti-opioid medications to people deal with dependency upon opioids. Hennepin County claims over 100 success stories. His goal to is to put bad people in jail and to help people with addictions.

The Sheriff Office’s latest task is to combat vaping, he said. One in four high school students abuse vaping.

Hutchinson mentioned services his office is offering to Corcoran – the Hennepin County Crime Lab, crime scene investigations team, Violent Offenders Task Force, investigations of white collar crime, help with specialized investigations, ice rescues, courts, jail and more.

He added that the Hennepin County Crime Lab is one of the top crime labs in the nation. The county lab is the best crime lab in the state, even when compared with the Bureau of Criminal Apprehension. As long as he is Sheriff, the Hennepin County Crime Lab will not be combined with the Minneapolis Crime Lab.

“Our goal is to see that you and your police chief have what you need to keep people safe,” he said. He also said Corcoran has a excellent police chief, and “we don’t have to come out here much.”

OTHER

The City Council also:

APPROVED submittal of an application for a $10,000 Hennepin County Youth Sports Grant.

APPROVED the final plat for Rolling Hills Acres, located at 6730 Rolling Hills Road, to create three new lots from a 40.81-acre parcel.

APPROVED a lot split for Terry Savoie for property at 21801 Homestead Trail. The split created one 2.5-acre lot and one 13.91-acre lot.

ACCEPTED the resignation of Dave Lang from his maintenance operator position in the Public Works Department and authorized city staff to recruit his successor.

AUTHORIZED staff to obtain appraisal services for transportation improvements in Town Center.

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