• September 25, 2016

Killeen City Hall needs repairs, director says

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Posted: Wednesday, September 21, 2016 10:18 pm

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.

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11 comments:

  • Alvin posted at 6:19 pm on Thu, Sep 22, 2016.

    Alvin Posts: 958

    Is there some reason that twice now you have cut my presentation short. I will once again, I guess the 3rd time is going to be the charm, I will 'replay' my comment. Please don't me short again will you?

    This is the personal opinion of this writer.
    @OldWoman: @eyewatchingu: @Citizen360: and @Pete: You all have offered some good suggestions as to 'how the Support Services Director Stu McLennan, can handle the city hall fiasco. It is strange how these matters can surface just after the signing of the 2016/2017 budget among other things that seem to present themselves, just after an event more and more these days. My question would be, 'why didn't you report on the city hall fiasco before the closing of the 2016/2017 budget? Did you not view this as 'important enough' and to bring this up before the close of the budget?
    I would like to inquire 'what is the maintenance budget for the city hall itself, not included as part of building maintenance of many budgets?
    And @OldWoman @ eyewatchingu: I cannot vouch for the numbers themselves but many of the citizens have an earning power at approximately $20,000/year an this is apparently not considered when it comes to the earning power of many of the city employees.
    I have asked the question 'did the 'staff services' bother to check on the loading characteristics of the city hall verses a school setting or which it was originally intended'? I would like to see this the newspaper please.
    Some of the suggestions presented here, and others that may come in in answer to this article, should be diligently considered for inclusion of consideration. Keep those cards and letters coming in won't you as the more inquiries that are submitted, the more ideas that are inportant.
    One of the 3% who voted.

     
  • Alvin posted at 6:14 pm on Thu, Sep 22, 2016.

    Alvin Posts: 958

    This is the personal opinion of this writer.
    Is there some reason that twice now you have cut my presentation short. I will once again, I guess the 3rd time is going to be the charm, I will 'replay' my comment. Please don't me short again will you?

    This is the personal opinion of this writer.
    @OldWoman: @eyewatchingu: @Citizen360: and @Pete: You all have offered some good suggestions as to 'how the Support Services Director Stu McLennan, can handle the city hall fiasco. It is strange how these matters can surface just after the signing of the 2016/2017 budget among other things that seem to present themselves, just after an event more and more these days. My question would be, 'why didn't you report on the city hall fiasco before the closing of the 2016/2017 budget? Did you not view this as 'important enough' and to bring this up before the close of the budget?
    I would like to inquire 'what is the maintenance budget for the city hall itself, not included as part of building maintenance of many budgets?
    And @OldWoman @ eyewatchingu: I cannot vouch for the numbers themselves but many of the citizens have an earning power

     
  • Alvin posted at 4:25 pm on Thu, Sep 22, 2016.

    Alvin Posts: 958

    This is the personal opinion of this writer.
    @Pete; I would not, under the circumstances, wish for a new city hall either. The point I was trying to make, approximately 6 years ago the roof was completely 're-tarred', (Feathers not included), then about 3 or 4 years ago, the city wanted to 'build a new city Hall to be located in the South 40 in the vicinity of the new police station. Now they, according to this newspaper, bought the old school building, built back in 1923, with the sole purpose of 'making it the new city hall, and this purchase was in 1993. Did the engineering staff that was present in 1993, and knowing it was to be 'The City Hall' of the future, or did it seem at that time, 'it would not matter'. This building purchase is only 23 years old and it's, as far as I know, the second time that this city government 'has wanted to build a new city hall.
    The reason is that a survey has been completed and it is the recommendation of the engineers that the second and third floors be evacuated leaving only the first floor to be occupied.
    Now in lieu of spending the $61,000 for a new elevator, save that money as the second and third floors are to evacuated and as there is not any time restraint on the occupancy of the second and third floor, I suggested putting trailers in the city hall parking lot to house the maximum of 28 employees, was you mentioned. I also asked for a printout of the city hall maintenance budget. If this building is so old and dilapidated, there should be a considerable amount of $$$. This remains to be seen.
    And yes, I agree with you in that the amount of building space that's been provided by this city, it would seem logical that the residents of the city hall should have space galore, but it might not be in the same location, but with the advances in technology, telephones, fax machines, etc. it can be worked out.
    You are correct in pointing out the space that is available and I thank you for your suggestion.
    More people should get involved in 'what this city is planning to do, today and in the future'.
    One of the 3% who voted.

     
  • Alvin posted at 3:47 pm on Thu, Sep 22, 2016.

    Alvin Posts: 958

    This is a repeat, the first article was not complete.
    This is the personal opinion of this writer.
    @OldWoman: @eyewatchingu: @Citizen360: and @Pete: You all have offered some good suggestions as to 'how the Support Services Director Stu McLennan, can handle the city hall fiasco. It is strange how these matters can surface just after the signing of the 2016/2017 budget among other things that seem to present themselves, just after an event more and more these days. My question would be, 'why didn't you report on the city hall fiasco before the closing of the 2016/2017 budget? Did you not view this as 'important enough' and to bring this up before the close of the budget?
    I would like to inquire 'what is the maintenance budget for the city hall itself, not included as part of building maintenance of many budgets?
    And @OldWoman @ eyewatchingu: I cannot vouch for the numbers themselves but many of the citizens have an earning power

     
  • Alvin posted at 1:28 pm on Thu, Sep 22, 2016.

    Alvin Posts: 958

    This is the personal opinion of this writer.
    @OldWoman: @eyewatchingu: @Citizen360: and @Pete: You all have offered some good suggestions as to 'how the Support Services Director Stu McLennan, can handle the city hall fiasco. It is strange how these matters can surface just after the signing of the 2016/2017 budget among other things that seem to present themselves, just after an event more and more these days. My question would be, 'why didn't you report on the city hall fiasco before the closing of the 2016/2017 budget? Did you not view this as 'important enough' and to bring this up before the close of the budget?
    I would like to inquire 'what is the maintenance budget for the city hall itself, not included as part of building maintenance of many budgets?
    And @OldWoman @ eyewatchingu: I cannot vouch for the numbers themselves but many of the citizens have an earning power

     
  • Pete posted at 12:42 pm on Thu, Sep 22, 2016.

    Pete Posts: 203

    Eye - You are speaking truth!! Old - Good facts for our "leaders" to know!! Alvin - I didn't and wouldn't advocate for a new city hall anywhere. They have too much unused space already or former mayors and other fat cats are getting paid rent for the space other offices have moved to.

     
  • eyewatchingu posted at 9:55 am on Thu, Sep 22, 2016.

    eyewatchingu Posts: 35

    As an average joe or should I say Josette, My husband and I own a home here in Killeen. 23 years my husband has paid his bills on time, I go with out dental and medical insurance, I cut coupons, and feed my husband the cheapest meat I can get. My husband spent 18 years in the Army before he was medically discharged, he is 60% disabled and still gets up every morning and makes his way with a bad leg to go and work on cars all day in a shop that has no air condition, then he comes home to our house, that only has two window air conditioners. Because we can not afford a new central air at 5000 to 9000 dollars. We live on a street that when they do make repairs on it they actually never fix the problem, so my front yard floods along with my backyard, so we have to spend money on fixing it so my back yard is not flooded so my dogs can play out side, my street is a 2 lane street, that is heavily used yet has no speed limit sign on it. The sidewalk in front of my house has sunk over 4 inches and has caused damaged to my driveway. Our home was built in 1978, we spend so much a week on fixing and repairing it when we can. I have never spent be on my means unless it was a true emergency and personally even then my husband and I do not have some place we can just pull money from just like most of the people here in Killeen. I don't get it. I don't understand where all this money is coming from, where it all is going. All I know is if my husband or I buy a new car, or put in something new, we would have every so called KPD officer knocking on doors asking neighbors where they think we got the money. Why hasn't any government official over these people that sit on a council have not come and done the same thing to the city. In my opinion thief is thief and no matter how you want to paint it, what new word or new definition you want to call it no matter if its white collar crime, blue collar crime. Thief is Thief and I feel this City leaders have stolen, lied, manipulated and out and out using the people of Killeen as slave labor aka human labor trafficking, so they can fill their coffers and there own pocket books. When I live hand to mouth, go with out basic needs, and my city council and public servants live better then me, then I will stand up say no more tyrants and bullies running our city.
    When many civilian works go to work, they do not have the pleasures, as I said before as those that work for the People and City of Killeen, many people work in places that need new equipment, yet the business know they cant afford it so the employees make it work. Not all office workers have the luxury of air conditioning, or have a dry cleaning service pick up and wash there uniforms, nor get a cash allowance for there transportation. Most are working for below average pay or in jobs that are below there education. Most can not go out and buy the a new computer for there kids, send there kids on trips. The average Killeen citizen makes do, and only gets to dream about seeing the world, or sending their own kids to a good school, some just dream of having enough to fix a leak in a child's bedroom, and even some that just wish to have a bed for their kid to sleep on. Some just pray that their neighbor next door. I have sat and watch city council use citizens to terrorize people that speak out, use the police to cause trouble for those that city council have labeled as trouble makers, and so on. I am done, and will make sure that on NOV 5th I will be standing in front of city hall and I hope and pray all the good citizens of Killeen that are just tried of working so others can have and you go with out, come out on Nov 5th in a peaceful demonstration. I will no longer watch children go with out, I will no longer watch the elderly go with out, I will no longer watch Mentally Disabled person labeled, I will no longer watch the fat cats get fatter as the people lose homes they have worked for there whole life are taken, no longer will I watch as what city council deem undesirables in our communities systematically moved and displaced out of fear or Human that has come from any country to live in this great country be demonized. I will be there even if I am the only one standing alone, because I know this is not the type of life God wants his people and children to live. He sent Moses to lead his people out and deliver them, God sent Joan Of Arc, God has sent many to lead his true believers from the hands of many tyrants.
    @Alvin, I agree with the trailers, if they can send our kids to take classes in trailers well trailers should be good enough for the Goose as well.

     
  • Alvin posted at 8:02 am on Thu, Sep 22, 2016.

    Alvin Posts: 958

    This is the personal opinion of this writer.
    It starts already. Support Services Director Stu McLennan, about a week ago, with the council voting on a revised budget that allows the reduction of 'the safety net' of approximately $1 million dollars has came to the council stating, now I'm paraphrasing here, 'The City Hall Structure is in such sad shape that the removal of all occupants from the second and third floors is necessary'.
    Now to backtrack,
    Copy: ' McLennan said the city purchased the building that was constructed in 1923 from Killeen Independent School District in 1993.' End of copy.
    Now if the building was purchased in 1993, did the then city cause a structural inspection to be accomplished and did the then city inspection note that 'the building was originally built to function as a school and that the loading of this building would not support the use as an office facility'? Now remember this was only 23 years ago and there has already been a voice to 'build a new city hall'.
    Copy: '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.' End of copy.
    Then as I understand this report, if the second and third floors are vacated, then there would not be a call for the repair of the elevator shaft, a $61,000 decrease, as 'no one would be using the elevator to go up to the second and third floors, and the $4,500 cost, for the chiller for the air conditioning system would the total cost to the city. Any maintenance that would be required, these personnel could use the stairway for ingress and egress.
    If the second and third floor evacuation, I recommend that the employees displaced by this action move into temporary trailers to be relocated on the parking area of the present city hall and across the street where the city has offices. If this is accomplished, then according to the LS Johnson Architects, with the evacuation of the second and third floors, 'There is no time limit if the city doesn't use use the second and third floors'.
    If this is not a satisfactory solution, the I suggest the old First Baptist Church that was recently refurbished and modernized to be a solution to the dilemma this city is now facing.
    @Pete: You are setting yourself up for another request, the city can come back with the old request 'to build a new city on the South end where the new Police Station is, and comeback with the age old , but this is a historically significant structure' in which case the city gets to build a brand new city hall AND maintain a significant structure'.
    I agree with the numbers as quoted, but 'don't give the city this opening.
    In my opinion trailers would be the best and cheapest solution.
    I see this as a temporary/semi permanent solution to the dilemma we now face.
    One of the 3%who voted.

     
  • OldWoman posted at 7:52 am on Thu, Sep 22, 2016.

    OldWoman Posts: 55

    Excellent point. According to http://www.bestplaces.net/economy/city/texas/killeen, the median per capita income in Killeen is around $20,000, which is something our city "leaders" should consider when they so freely suggest spending millions.

    30% of people in Killeen earn less than $30K.
    55% of people in Killeen earn $50K and less.

     
  • Citizen360 posted at 7:43 am on Thu, Sep 22, 2016.

    Citizen360 Posts: 64

    Why don't they move the remaining lightly staffed departments to the old police headquarters? Did they not just recently moved all uniformed officers to the main headquarters? So there should be plenty of room. Plus the security aspect of being in a building with plain clothes officers. Seems like a no-brainer to me.

     
  • Pete posted at 6:26 am on Thu, Sep 22, 2016.

    Pete Posts: 203

    First observation: Councilman Kilpatrick asks, "Where's the 1 million dollars coming from?" Sir, 1.87 million dollars is a lot closer to two million dollars. In my household, when a kid or wife says, "It's just a dollar.", but the real price is $1.87 I remind them of that fact. I guess that because it is money I have to work for and the pennies count. Not like the public servants who get to spend other people's money so frivolously.

    Second observation: 28 people "work" in city hall and the city says it needs to spend $1.87 million dollars? My calculator says that is $66,785.71 per person. Come on. These folks aren't curing cancer or doing brain surgery. Let's be real here. Can any citizen afford to spend spend nearly $67,000 on their office space?

    Third observation: Government at all levels needs an "average Joe" citizen watchdog type person advocating common sense tasked to bring some realism to these career "public servants" when they start spouting their nonsense and spending our money on stuff the average citizen can't afford. If these people are "representatives" of the people, they should not be working in spaces nicer or earning more that the people they represent!