City hires architect for future municipal complex

By SUE SUCHYTA
Sunday Times Newspapers

ALLEN PARK – The city council voted to hire CDPA Architects to assist with the city’s municipal complex plans, with Councilman Angelo DeGiulio opposed over concern for citizen liability for the complex cost.

Councilman Larry Templin, who serves on the municipal complex committee with Council members Tina Gaworecki and Harry Sisko, City Manager Mark Kibby, Community Development Director Dave Boomer and others, said they are tasked with determining how they want to house the Police Department and city hall complex.

“The problem that we saw right away is (the police) don’t have a jail facility, we don’t have secured parking for the police department, or entrances for the police department,” Templin said.

He said the building the city is leasing for the police and city hall expires in 2017, and he anticipates that the lease cost, which increased $50,000 in the last year, will continue to rise.

Templin said the committee wants to start looking at properties it could develop for the police department and city hall, without additional cost to the taxpayers, with money the city already has.

“There is about $2 million in a bond that was taken out in 2009 that we can use,” Templin said, “and we are thinking that there is going to be something that we can get for selling property, and whatever lease payment that we have would go toward any funding of bonds or lease buy back program or whatever we are going to do.”     Templin said getting an architect involved now would help the committee know what costs would be going forward.

DeGiulio asked for confirmation of where money would come from for a new municipal complex.

“So we have $2 million left from the bonds for this property here, correct?” DeGiulio said. “And we are hoping to sell the property next door and get some money there, and we might put out some new bonds? Am I hearing that correct?”

Kibby said they would fund a new municipal complex in part using the current lease payment, which he said is $250,000 to $300,000 annually.

“That money would remain budgeted, and that could be applied toward any payment that we would need to go forward to fund the additional cost of the facility,” Kibby said.

DeGiulio asked for confirmation that the city could not finance or have a mortgage on any new complex.

City Attorney Joe Couvreur confirmed that was correct.

“We did have a conversation with bond counsel,” Couvreur said. “We are looking at ways. We have a gap and we need to look  at ways to fund that gap. I believe what Mark (Kibby) is also saying is the idea would be to use the funds that are being used now every month to fund that gap.”

Couvreur said there were details to be worked out, and they may involve whatever contractor is eventually hired. He also said a new bond would not be acquired.

Kibby said that it was too early to speculate about the details for funding a new complex.

“You have to have an architect,” Kibby said. “You are asking questions that I don’t think at this point are really relevant. The reason we are still in this process is to get those answers, as we work together and get the right people who can answer those questions.”

Mayor William Matakas reiterated that the state has to approve any of the city’s financing.

(Sue Suchyta can be reached at sue.suchyta@yahoo.com.)

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