At the end of February, the lease for the Liberty Township offices will expire, said Administrator Matt Huffman in a discussion of options with trustees to either continue to rent office space or to utilize township property.
Huffman told trustees if the township decides to stay in the space at 10104 Brewster Lane, Powell, there would be an increase in rates.
“I wouldn’t say it’s a substantial increase,” he said. “It’s a three percent (increase) per year.”
Trustees tabled a resolution earlier in the meeting authorizing Huffman to consult with Schorr Architects about possible options for administrative office space.
Trustee Shyra Eichhorn said in their last meeting that she and Trustee Melanie Leneghan talked about the different possibilities. She said they are comparing the costs of continuing to rent space, building a new facility on existing township property, or remodeling an existing township building.
“Melanie and I aren’t big fans of paying rent,” Eichorn said. “I also don’t want anyone to walk out of here thinking that we’re jumping to definitely build a building. That’s why we tabled it so to really talk about it before spending any money like that.”
Eichhorn said she would like to see an analysis of all the different options before making a decision.
“Maybe once all the analysis is done we should stay where we are or maybe move down the road,” she said. “It just needs to be done before we sign a lease for three years.”
Leneghan said she thought that the township shouldn’t be in the business of maintaining buildings.
“My concern was, are we utilizing the brick and mortar we already have?” she said. “We have so much square footage that is underutilized. I want to look at can we be in one of the other buildings instead of leasing.”
Leneghan said in the current office arrangement there are 10 closed offices and room for six cubicles and an entry area that is large, all for only five people.
“If anything, we need to do a little downsizing on what we’re renting,” she said. “We have to either better utilize the buildings we have, and if we find there isn’t enough space to house our staff, we should not be renting where we are.”
Trustee Mike Gemperline said if the decision is made to remodel an existing property “it would pay for itself in short order.”
In the Dec. 18, 2017 trustee meeting, department heads discussed some of the possibilities with the trustees.
Andy Curmode, parks and roads superintendent, suggested using the old park department office and shop building.
“It might work, but somebody would have to look at it,” he said. “With some modifications, I know it might cost more, but it’s already built.”
Other ideas from department heads included utilizing space at the township hall, the open space on the second floor of Fire Station 322 or building something new.
“I think we do need to visit the possibility of either (station) 322 in that huge open space or up in the park,” Leneghan said. “However, the park is more centralized. That’s an advantage.”
By the end of both meetings, trustees agreed to continue to study all options.
Contact D. Anthony Botkin at 740-413-0902. Follow him on Twitter @dabotkin.