UNION GAP, Wash. — Union Gap city employees may soon have one building to call City Hall.
A little more than seven months after the old City Hall building on Ahtanum Road was closed permanently due to toxic black mold, the Union Gap City Council is expected to vote on a temporary modular complex to bring city employees back under one roof. They are currently working at scattered locations.
The only detail council members have left to agree on is whether to lease or purchase the temporary building, which is really a group of portable office rooms connected to form a complex.
Interim City Manager Chris Jensen said purchasing the offices would cost about $400,000, the same price as leasing them for about five to seven years. Jensen said city officials estimate it will take that long for the city to replace the old City Hall with a new, permanent facility.
“It’s truly going to take five or seven years to figure out how to build City Hall,” said Jensen, who envisions a larger facility that would house more city offices than the old building.
On Tuesday, some City Council members said they had not seen Jensen’s cost estimates and remain undecided whether to purchase or lease a modular complex. The temporary building would be placed on a vacant lot at the corner of South Second and Franklin streets near the former City Hall.
“I’ll need to make a decision Monday,” Councilman David Butler said.
About 17 City Hall employees were displaced by the building’s closure in late April and are stationed in shared quarters in other city buildings. Butler said he expects the temporary facility will return some normalcy to employees’ jobs.
“Councilman Roger Wentz said he supports purchasing the temporary buildings so that the city could continue to use them once they’re retired for the new City Hall.
“It’s an issue of price,” Wentz said. “With the purchase we have the option of doing other things with them.”
Wentz said city officials continue to search for funding that could expedite the construction of a new City Hall, but it looks unlikely with city revenue not expected to increase in 2013.
The City Council has already approved demolishing the former City Hall building. It has not been determined where the new permanent City Hall building would be constructed.
“We first have to get our funding in order to move forward,” Wentz said.