WESTMINSTER — The much-anticipated and controversial report of City Hall space needs was released Friday, and it recommends developing a "campus-type" setting costing $3.4 million.
The 68-page report calls for renovation of City Hall and a 10,000-square-foot addition, along with a new building for the police department.
"I think it's on the right track," said Councilman William F. Haifley. "I think it's a pretty thorough and comprehensive report."
Baltimore-based Cho, Wilks & Benn Architects Inc. conducted the $35,000 study and will present its findings, probably next
month, said City Planning Director Thomas Beyard.
The consultant suggests the project be undertaken in two phases, the first being renovation of andaddition to City Hall at a cost of about $1.6 million.
The secondphase calls for construction of a 17,000-square-foot building on city-owned land adjacent to City Hall for the police department, at a cost of more than $1.7 million.
"Certainly it's not chiseled in stone that this is what it's going to be," Beyard said.
"We'll have towork our way through it with the mayor and new council, to come up with something that's acceptable."
The study was controversial longbefore it was made available to the public.
Last week the City Council passed a budget for the coming fiscal year, and it included $1.3 million for new office space for city government.
Because the money was appropriated before the study was released, the council's move drew fire from Mayor W. Benjamin Brown and many citizens.
Coupled with previous appropriations the council made, the total available for additional office space is $1.6 million.
But that may change.
Samuel V. Greenholtz and Mark S. Snyder were ousted in last week'selection, and Council President Kenneth J. Hornberger did not seek re-election.
The new council -- which meets in a special session tomorrow at 7:30 p.m. -- has promised to review the budget and allocation for office space.
The new council members -- Stephen R. Chapin Sr., Rebecca Orenstein and Kenneth A. Yowan -- said during the campaign that the council was acting prematurely by budgeting the money.
In recent weeks, the mayor criticized the council, saying the project would be too expensive. Brown predicted that estimates would eclipse $3 million, while Snyder insisted the $1.6 million would pay for the whole project.
The mayor also challenged the council's intent topay for the project with a mix of general tax revenue, impact fees, and water and sewer funds. Brown advocated a bond issue instead.
The study, which examines city government space needs in five-year increments for the next two decades, examined 10 sites, including the armory, the post office, Carroll Community College, and the Englar Business Park.
The report said the 16,076 square feet the government occupies is half what is needed.