Archive for Wednesday, January 11, 2006

City considers need for community room

January 11, 2006

Tonganoxie City Council members on Monday decided that unless they hear a public outcry, designs for a new city hall will not include a community room.

When city officials began talking about a new city hall and directed the city's engineering firm to work on conceptual drawings, those plans included a community room.

¢ Currently BG Consultants, the city's engineering firm, is finalizing conceptual drawings for a new city hall.

¢ Here's what it might include:

¢ The police station, including offices for employees, a booking area and storage for police cars.

¢ City offices for the administrator, the city clerk, the utility billing staff and the building inspector.

¢ Room for storage of maps, plats and large charts.

¢ A municipal courtroom.

¢ City council chambers.

¢ A community room, although the council is considering removing that from the plans, unless the public says it wants a community room.

"I was foreseeing a large room for private parties and receptions and town meetings," said City Administrator Mike Yanez.

That is in addition to city council chambers and a separate municipal courtroom.

A community room would be available for reservation by the public for a variety of uses. The room, which would be available at night and on weekends, also would include a small kitchen area, as well as folding tables and chairs. Yanez estimated it would seat about 100 people.

Yanez said he wanted to gauge council members' support for a community room before proceeding.

If such a room were included in a new city hall, it would add to construction costs, as well as costs to furnish and equip the building. City staff members also would need to work out details for rentals, as well as custodial operations.

"Is there any way of getting public feedback to see if they would support something like this?" council member Ron Cranor asked. "Or are we chasing our tail."

Mayor Dave Taylor said he would get in touch with Lansing city officials to see how they handle the operation of the community room that's on the lower level of Lansing City Hall.

"I know it's quite a busy place," Cranor said. "I know there's a lot of bookings of that facility."

Council members said it's possible existing or future groups or businesses could handle the city's needs.

"I think we have much greater priorities," council member Velda Roberts said. "Unless the public shows us there is a demand for it, I think we ought to spend the money on other needs."

Cranor agreed, adding, "I would rather we have a nice city hall for the staff."

In other matters, the council:

  • Scheduled a joint meeting with planning commissioners for 6:30 p.m. Feb. 2 at council chambers to discuss changes to the comprehensive plan. The city later will update the comprehensive plan.
  • Approved payment of $5,430 for the city's annual membership in Leavenworth Area Development, a countywide economic development group.
  • Agreed to pay part-time employees at 1.5 times their usual pay rate if they work holidays. The move, Yanez said, would encourage part-time workers -- primarily police officers -- to volunteer to work more holidays.
  • Approved pay increases for several employees, based on their performance evaluations.
  • Accepted the resignation of police officer Brian Daily.

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