Why the current council likes the term "Interim"

posted Aug 27, 2013, 10:55 PM by Stephen Barnes   [ updated Oct 19, 2013, 3:23 PM ]
Haven't you sometimes wondered why the Current City Council keeps referring to an "Interim" City Hall?
Some thoughts to the current city hall quarters by Stephen Barnes
If you rummage back through the Mountlake Terrace history books, you can go as far (and maybe even farther) back as 2002 to see good Councilwoman Amundson fighting an uphill battle against an entrenched set of activists who even then wanted to have a new city hall come what may.  She ordered an inspection of the (then standing) city hall premises to counter claims that it was in too poor condition to be maintained.  The result of the inquiry?  The building was solid. 
Some people claim that the tear down of the whole building by the City Council led by Mayor Smith upon the loosening of a handful of tiles in just one room was a bit too radical too soon.  But how else could they jumpstart the hopes of a few activists for a spanking new building?  Who knows?  It might even get Mayor Smith's name on it!?!  In any case, 2008 brought down the house!  And that brings us to "interim"...
Normally, when we use the term "interim" we are really thinking "stop gap" or "short term" and that seems to be what the City Council had in mind in 2010 when they signed on to a very expensive short-term loan (that is the BAN loan Len French talks on in the above link which is still not paid down) and made the first pitch for a new city hall.  But there were problems with the plan:  while their own paid consultants said they could do a full city hall and citizen center for as little as eight (8) million dollars, they came to you with a grandiose, some even termed it "Taj Mahal" scale, thirty seven million dollar edifice.  You soundly defeated such notions and they tried again in Fall of 2012 and once again this Spring to get your blessing.
What no one has told you (and I only recently found out) is that the Redstone Building which currently houses our fair city's City Hall was VERY desirous of the City as renter.  In fact, they agreed to some pretty amazing terms:  they declared themselves ready to invest a total $700,000 (just shy of three-quarters of a million) to outfit the premises AND gave a windfall rebate of the initial seven months rent to our Council.  (See page three of the notes linked below.)  Doesn't sound very "interim" to me.  And you?
Considering the whole five year lease was to cost us 2.2 million, if the City needed $700,000 in reconstruction just to outfit this "interim" city hall, it has led to me to consider that we should not jump onto a new plan so quickly.  Maybe we should consider this a longer term solution and finally drop the "interim" designation?  Did you know that the current lease (see below link) provides for an easy three year extension at going (now lower) lease rates?
An additional thought nudging in that direction was Candidate Len French's comparison between renting and owning.  No, not the 30 year mortgage versus full fifty year costs that the City Manager and the Current Council had been singing of repetitively, just a straight cost to comparable cost of mortgage (cost of possession) to base lease (cost of possession) and that for the mortgage's length.  Len French's math is reliable (I checked it): $43 million for the mortgage versus about $18 million for the base rent over 30 years!  And it is weighted to higher than probable rental costs.
Please seriously consider the three City Council Candidates that DON'T come from the city planning commission: Len French, Wanda Clarke-Morin, and myself, Stephen Barnes.  And vote change instead of more of the usual.
[PLEASE NOTE: I have documents to back all the factual statements above and, as time allows, I will add them to the resources for you, the interested, earnest citizen.]
Stephen Barnes,
Aug 27, 2013, 10:55 PM
Stephen Barnes,
Sep 24, 2013, 3:29 PM
Stephen Barnes,
Sep 24, 2013, 3:04 PM