Missouri News

Canton officials rethinking proposal to extensively remodel City Hall

Canton City Hall houses the mayor's office, the police department and a courtroom upstairs. | H-W File Photo
By Herald-Whig
Posted: Jun. 23, 2019 12:50 am Updated: Jun. 23, 2019 1:30 am

CANTON, Mo. -- Members of the Canton Board of Aldermen are rethinking plans to undertake a major remodel of City Hall.

The board reviewed bids for the remodeling project this week, with Whiston Construction of Canton submitting the apparent low bid of $710,000.

However, after city officials added in an extra 10% for possible cost overruns, $20,000 for furniture and an estimated $20,000 for security systems, the base cost rose to $821,000. And then the city would have to take out a loan to pay for the project over 20 years at an interest rate of 4.85%, which would put the total cost for the life of the loan at $1.28 million.

"That's a lot of money" for a remodeling project, Mayor Jarrod Phillips said in an interview. "We had a lengthy discussion on whether it was feasible to burden the city with that kind of debt."

So board members began looking at an alternative proposal to split City Hall into two locations. This would involve buying the former Golden Ruler building at 400 Lewis St., a second building at 103 N. Fourth and an adjacent parking lot -- all of which were offered to the city by Capps Stores for $230,000.

Phillips said the city could then move its administrative offices and the municipal court to the Golden Ruler site and keep the Canton Police Department in the existing City Hall building, which currently houses all of the municipal operations.

By doing this, he said, the city wouldn't have to undertake such a costly remodeling project at City Hall. The project became expensive because it would involve making some major changes -- including the installation of an elevator -- to comply with new Missouri municipal court regulations and with federal Americans with Disabilities Act accessibility requirements.

Phillips said moving the municipal court and city offices to the one-story Golden Ruler building would eliminate the accessibility issues and would free up more space at the existing two-story City Hall for police operations, which would remain at that location.

This proposal also would eliminate the cost of having to relocate all city offices to a temporary location in Canton for a year while the City Hall remodeling work was carried out.

By splitting City Hall into two sites, Phillips said, the city could make gradual upgrades to both buildings "as time and money allow -- or borrow a smaller amount and do one building at a time."

Phillips said the Board of Aldermen has reached "no consensus yet" on whether to proceed with this option. He said the city will first have to get an appraisal for the Golden Ruler-related properties to see if the $230,000 asking price is appropriate.

"We will see where those appraisals come in, and then we'll kind of look at the numbers and see what might make the most fiscal sense -- if it makes sense to divide City Hall into two," Phillips said.

"We need to look and see what's going to be best for the city, what's going to keep us accessible to our citizens, what's going to be the best use of money -- and how can we save that interest."

In other action, the board:

Adopted a $2.6 million budget for the 2020 fiscal year, which begins July 1.

Learned the city has already submitted about $110,000 in reimbursement requests to the state for flooding related costs incurred by the city this year.

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