Posted 1/19/16 (Tue)
By Kevin Killough
Ray is considering the construction of a new city hall.
Last year, the city hired its first police officer as it faced increased demand for law enforcement services due to the oil boom. Previously the city relied on the Williams County Sheriff’s Office.
The current city hall doesn’t have a separate, secure room for storing evidence and suspects have to be brought in through the public-access door, which everyone uses.
This creates a number of safety issues for police and the public, Commissioner Travis Rettig told the commission at the last regular meeting.
Rettig presented very preliminary proposals to address these issues. One plan would build additions onto the existing city hall, and the second plan would build a new facility at First Avenue and Score Street.
He said the city can apply for the funding to support the project through the Williams County emergency services tax, which is a one-percent sales tax voters approved in Nov. 2014.
The first plan Rettig proposed builds onto the existing city hall building, expanding on the west side. It would add a garage for police vehicles, which facilitates the processing of detainees more discreetly, and would also contain sheriff’s offices.
Rettig presented figures, stressing they are ballpark figures developed in consultation with a contractor for comparisons of the two plans. The plans were also just basic drawings for determining approximate square footage.
“This is pencil-whipped together,” said City Auditor Ronda Rustad, who helped Rettig develop the plans.
The proposal for expanding the existing city hall will cost roughly $216,000, Rettig said, which comes to about $175 a square foot.
He said the downside of the plan is costs per square foot are much higher due to the rerouting of utilities and other items the contractor will have to do to accommodate the expansion.
The city will also lose its shop bay.
Rettig said it will look like they added a new structure onto an old one, and there isn’t a whole lot a contractor can do to minimize the visual inconsistency it will create.
“There’s no way to tie the roof together and make it look as one,” Rettig said.
A second proposal is to build a new facility with a conference room, administrative offices, and the secure law enforcement offices included in the first proposal.
The city owns the property it would sit on. Rettig’s rough estimates put it around $500,000, which comes to $75 a square foot.
Retting said he prefers this option because it allows the city to tailor the building to suit its needs more precisely. And it would look much more attractive than the first proposal.
“The look of Ray is going to be a lot better with this building,” he said.
The commission agreed, if the city can get enough funding, the second option would be more attractive and satisfy the needs of city operations more adequately than the expansion proposal.
The commission voted to permit Rettig to better “firm up” cost estimates and proceed with applying for the funds through the county tax.
The board that votes on allocations of the tax meets on Jan. 20. It is comprised of representatives from police and fire organizations from throughout the county.