"I would like to have posted sooner, but debated about whether I should or not, or if it even matters. As a City employee, I can say we are by and large extremely disappointed in the Council's vote. We are upset not only at the fact that we will lose our offices and be placed in an open call-center type office construction, but even more so by the fact that this is not the best decision for the City. This is just something that Mayor Taylor and the City Council will benefit from, no-one else.
It's certainly not for the public, who will now have to park blocks away and walk to the new building to conduct business at City Hall, likely having to pay more than the few cents they now have to pay at the parking meters. As many of the people who visit City Hall can be elderly or handicapped, this will present a real inconvenience to the public that the Mayor and the Council seem not to care about. Parking will be another real issue. The attached garage only has about 1000 spaces, many of which are used by the current tenants of the building already. When you factor in how many City vehicles we have, not to mention employee vehicles, I have a feeling that the parking lots/garages in the area will all be full and the owners will therefore be able to charge a premium for parking since demand will begin to outpace supply. The same thing happened in the late '90s when Williams was bringing in hundreds of people and parking was scarce, prices went up. And if the City is going to construct a new parking garage close by in the next few years, as has been mentioned, shouldn't that cost have been included as part of the costs to move?
Naturally, the Mayor's office and the City Council will all have assigned spaces in the attached garage that they will not have to pay for. The rest of us will be left to find our own and will likely have to walk. I don't have a huge problem with that, but some people will. The real point is, why give us something that is worse than what we already have?
And, this business with the hotel seems to be a little bogus as well. Maybe it will happen, but first it would require the demolition of this building which I think would be difficult considering the construction of the surrounding Plaza area here. Not to mention, Civic Center Plaza will remain after City Hall moves because the County Courthouse and the Municipal courts will not be moving with us, and the center of Civic Center Plaza just doesn't seem to be the best place for a luxury hotel, nestled in closely with the courthouses, library, and the YMCA. And while I'm talking about locations and proximity, how many businesses can you think of that would be just dying to lease space in the new City Hall? Not many, I would think, which would probably mean that the space would have to be leased at a lesser amount than it is probably worth. Seeing as how having tenants pay the City rent so that we can in turn pay our "rent" is a major part of how the deal is structured, makes one uneasy to think about it. When Christiansen called it a "house of cards", he was right. Too bad he didn't listen to himself. And if this building is such a great deal, why has it been for sale and largely empty for so long a time?
I'm afraid to say though, that the real reason the Council approved this move has nothing to do with any of this. From what I've heard, the majority of the Council was planning to vote 'No', until Mayor Taylor swept in on the day of the vote with her last minute push. She promised the Council nice new offices (many with plasma TV's in them) on a secure floor with the Mayor's office where the general public will no longer have access to them. The rest of us feel as if we and the entire City have been sold up the river by the current Council just so they can have some posh new digs. The Mayor bought their votes and they approved it without having all the facts, such as an itemized list of what this alleged $24 million in deferred maintenance consists of. None of us knows what they are talking about. Perhaps the fountain with the penguin in it? Well, that will still remain once we are moved, as will many other things.
I haven't even begun to scratch the surface of why I and many others think that this move is wrong, and I barely mentioned the financial aspect of it. There are many other legitimate concerns that we have, but unfortunately, the people who should care and listen to them have been blinded by Mayor Taylor's promise of a better land for the chosen few."