A week after the Killeen Council approved the fiscal year 2017 budget that calls for using about $1 million in city savings, council members are now told of an impending expense.
In March, Councilwoman Shirley Fleming requested an assessment of City Hall.
That request came months after Support Services Director Stu McLennan authorized more than $87,000 in roof repairs that circumvented policies requiring council authorization of expenses exceeding $50,000. McLennan provided an update related to Fleming’s March request on Tuesday.
Staff is recommending spending more than $69,000 associated with the City Hall budget that would come from the city’s building maintenance fund in the 2017 budget.
The overall estimated cost of City Hall repairs based on the assessment is about $1.87 million.
“Where is the $1 million cost coming from?” Councilman Jim Kilpatrick asked.
McLennan said it’s unlikely the entire cost will be able to come from the 2017 budget.
Staff-proposed costs for immediate action would come from the 2017 budget’s building fund, he said.
In discussing immediate remediation steps based on the assessment, McLennan said the key is to “get the weight off the third floor, directly over the council chambers.”
“City Hall is safe to occupy; however, it was constructed to serve as a school — not as an office space,” McLennan said.
In providing the history, McLennan said the city purchased the building that was constructed in 1923 from Killeen Independent School District in 1993.
A December 2012, engineer visual assessment noted concerns for occupying the building associated with the second and third floors, McLennan said.
A further engineer’s report in October 2013 stated floor systems were not sufficiently reinforced and exceeded weight designs and limits.
In January 2014, renovations allowed code enforcement to move to its current building. From February to March 2014, the city’s finance department moved to the Killeen Arts and Activity Center, and cash collections moved to the utility collections building.
In an email response to the Herald on Wednesday, city spokeswoman Hilary Shine said documents associated with the finance department are backed up electronically.
In March 2014, building inspections, permits and plans moved to the code enforcement building. In October 2014, human resource and city attorney file cabinets were moved to a consolidated filing room on the first floor of City Hall. Other department moves in 2014, reduced about 51,800 pounds from the second and third floors, McLennan said.
In August 2015, a large concrete lintel fell from the third floor of City Hall when staff members began to make repairs the council learned about in March this year.
On May 10, staff received a proposal from L.S. Johnson to conduct the structural assessment of City Hall at a cost of $43,850.
The summary of the report submitted to the city Aug. 18 shows the building is structurally sound but the foundation is out of level by 5 inches, the second and third floors are not suited for general office use and the third-floor office space, over the first-floor council chambers and occupied by the city attorney, should be vacated.
In staff recommendations based on that report for the estimated $69,000 cost, McLennan said the staff will relocate the city attorney’s office, bookshelves and other equipment at no cost to the city.
Shine said the city attorney’s office is relocating people and law books, not files.
The largest costs are replacing the elevator for about $61,000 because it dates to 1995 and parts are obsolete, city officials said.
Another cost is replacing the “chiller” for the city hall’s air conditioning system for about $4,500, after the pump “seized” Sept. 11, Friday and Monday.
“And if you do those before those other repairs before that ($1.87 million), how much time do we have, an estimate before we actually have to say OK we need to do something here we’re going to have to spend that,” Mayor Jose Segarra asked.
Liz Johnson, with LS Johnson Architects, said there is no time limit if the city doesn’t use the second and third floors.
Shine said 28 people currently work out of City Hall, which serves the city manager, assistant city manager, city auditor, city attorney, human resources, support services and public information departments.
Contact Rachael Riley at firstname.lastname@example.org or 254-501-7553