Florida Keys News - Islamorada/KL Free Press
Wednesday, January 30, 2013
Residents call for new hall at meeting

MARATHON -- A common refrain among residents attending Marathon City Council's special call meeting was the desire for a new City Hall.

"Residents feel it's time to seriously look at [the idea] but cautioned that we need to do it prudently and not burden the taxpayer," said Finance Director Peter Rosasco.

During the Jan. 17 capital project discussion, Rosasco presented the council with a fiscal plan that includes borrowing $6 million in 2014 for infrastructure work, including a new City Hall.

"Interest rates are low and contractors are hungry," commented Rosasco.

According to Rosasco's projections, the city would only increase its annual debt payment by $4,000 by borrowing the additional funds. The remaining balance on $10 million the city borrowed in 2004 will be paid in full by July 2019, he said.

If the council moves forward with a new City Hall, the town would hire an architect to draw plans to be presented to the council and residents for review and revisions. Once the drawings were agreed upon, the project would go out for bid and, according to Rosasco, a new building could be constructed before the lease expires on the trailers currently serving as City Hall.

City staff received permission from the council to put out a request for proposals for the design of a new City Hall, although decisions about what exactly the city wants haven't been made.

"This would allow the city to expedite the process should the council choose to move forward," Rosasco said.

The solicitation will not set forth any design criteria but rather begin the process of qualifying and getting price quotes for "the design and preparation of plans for a new City Hall."

"We don't want something shoved down our throats," cautioned resident John Walton. "There's a lot we can do with a reasonably priced building."

Vice Mayor Richard Keating said, "We'll take advantage of costs savings if we can."

At a special call meeting scheduled for Feb. 21, the council will discuss the details of the new building. Residents are encouraged to attend and share their opinions.

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