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S'side eyes city hall expansion

Touted as a commitment to downtown, Sunnyside is looking at remodeling its city hall, including a 1,200-foot expansion.

City Manager Bob Stockwell presented the idea to council members Monday during the third of four budget workshops.

Stockwell said the city would need to budget $200,000 in 2006 for the renovation. Elements of the proposal would include a new entry/reception area, breakroom and office cubicles to provide privacy when residents come in to discuss their utility bills.

The existing city hall actually consists of two separate buildings which were attached together at some point in time.

The proposed expansion would better tie the two buildings together as one, Stockwell stated, and provide more even distribution for the site's heating and cooling systems.

Councilwoman Bengie Aguilar asked Stockwell what would happen if the project went over budget. "It won't go over budget," he assured her.

Councilman Paul Garcia agreed that privacy measures would be good at city hall. "I've come in the front door and heard people right there have to discuss paying their utility bills," he said. Councilwoman Theresa Hancock offered that a break room was needed for staff at city hall.

Mayor Ed Prilucik expressed concerns about expending $200,000 from capital improvement funds on the proposal. Stockwell responded that $232,000 would still remain in the fund.

"The reason the funds were built up is so the city could carry out capital projects," Stockwell later explained. "The fund will continue to get larger for future projects."

In response to a question by Councilman Jim Restucci, Stockwell said all building plans would first be submitted to council.

If council approves city hall expansion, Stockwell noted the first step would be hiring an architect to draw up designs. "Then let's see how things go from there," he said.

Council is expected to take action on the 2006 budget next Monday, Dec. 12, at 6:30 p.m.

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