Syndicated by: Montana News
The Department of Housing and Urban Development has approved the City of Minot to move forward with relocating City Hall with the help of National Disaster Resilience funds.
“This project was part of Minot’s original action plan approved by HUD as part of the Disaster Resilience Competition,” Minot Mayor Shaun Sipma said. “This decision signifies that HUD approves of the City’s progress with the NDR program, as the agency withholds funds for public infrastructure until other criteria are met.”
The action plan approved by HUD as part of the City of Minot’s NDR application included several reasons for relocating City Hall:
Public safety. Calls for service for police, fire, and ambulance all flow through Central Dispatch. Had the City not put considerable time and resources towards protecting City Hall in 2011, our most important communication division would have been flooded. The relocation of City Hall will allow the City to remove the immediate threat for dispatch and relocate that operation to higher ground, protecting this crucial aspect of public safety.
Cost savings. The use of NDR funds for City Hall will cut the eventual cost of a new City Hall by almost half, saving the City money on two eventual projects, expanding the City Hall and Public Works buildings, by consolidating the space of four City facilities into one location.
1. City Hall has reached its capacity and needs to be expanded.
2. The Minot Police Department has reached its capacity and needs to be expanded.
3. Despite a 2016 expansion, the Public Works building is near capacity and will eventually need to be expanded (some staff will likely move into the new City Hall building).
4. The space the City is using in the Auditorium for staff offices and Municipal Court will be vacated, allowing the Auditorium to be used to its full potential as a public recreation and event center.
City Hall, as constructed, is too small for the current organization. When the building was first built it housed a smaller staff for a much smaller community.
The City of Minot has grown in population and thus the need for resources to properly run the staff has increased. The current building is at maximum capacity, housing 6 departments. Employees are doubled up in offices and some are working in closets and copy rooms.
Centralized services. Currently, many of the commonly used services are scattered throughout the City. A centrally located City Hall would help create a one-stop-shop for residents that could include a public information center, utility billing, key administration offices, and space for public meeting rooms and the Mayor and City Council. Having all of these in one location will in prove the experience for our customers and residents.
With HUD’s approval of the waiver, the City has $3.75 million in federal grant funding to relocate City Hall. If the project incorporates a center for technical education, an additional $1.5 mil-lion would be available. Because this project was always in the City’s HUD-approved action plan, the City Council set aside $1 million in funding for this project, meaning there is roughly $6.2 million already available.
“We won’t know exactly how much funding this project will need to complete until we’ve done an extensive cost breakdown that takes into consideration property size, available properties, renovations, furnishings, and necessary infrastructure,” City Manager Tom Barry said. “But we are well on our way, and at considerable cost offsets, in delivering a City Hall that meets the needs of our community and is safe from harm’s way.”