City leaders continue to address residual space issues unaddressed in a 2014 renovation of the Augusta Municipal Building.
But the latest slate of changes won’t include new offices for Augusta Commission members to meet with the public, an addition sought by Commissioner Dennis Williams.
“Nobody saw the need but me,” Williams said. “I thought it would be a nice and professional addition to our professional image.”
Other commissioners said they don’t need offices, which were removed from design plans presented Tuesday.
Commissioner Marion Williams said he conducts most city business over his cellphone. He recalled, however, that two second-floor offices connected to Mayor Hardie Davis’ office – and now used by Davis – were originally tagged in design plans as commissioner meeting rooms.
The second-floor layout caused a shakeup in 2014 when commissioners balked at plans to place the law department in a suite across from the mayor. Clerk of commission Lena Bonner and her staff were moved to the suite and a vault was added to hold important documents, while the law department was left in aging offices next door in the same block.
The 10 commissioners make their phone numbers and email addresses available online, and say they find ways to meet with constituents other than having dedicated office space.
“I meet them at their homes, at neighborhood association meetings as well as at the municipal building,” Commissioner Ben Hasan said.
Augusta’s seventh sales tax included some $35 million designated to repay bonds issued to renovate the municipal building campus, adding to $18 million dedicated to the project in the sixth sales tax. City Administrator Janice Allen Jackson said Tuesday that $1.1 million is left to make further improvements.
A set of proposed changes for the campus presented by Central Services Director Takiyah Douse and approved Tuesday by the city Administrative Services Committee included the following:
Moving the compliance department from seventh-floor offices, now too small and lacking privacy, to a larger fifth-floor space currently occupied by Augusta 311, which will move to Central Services administration on Peach Orchard Road.
Demolishing the engineering administration, which faces Fifth Street on the municipal building campus, as engineering staff move to the newly-renovated space on Walker Street.
Renovating traffic engineering to house the city’s wellness center, which currently sits by the joint law enforcement center campus that is slated for demolition.
Expanding the law department’s staff of 11 into a renovated building being vacated by engineering
Adding irrigation – a detail omitted during the 2016 construction – to landscaping islands on the downtown campus.
Adding five additional parking spaces while freeing 42 spaces as staff working at the municipal building campus move to other locations.
The projects’ estimated budgets left about $428,000 in the campus building budget, according to the presentation. The changes will appear on the commission’s consent agenda Tuesday.
Reach Susan McCord at (706) 823-3215 or firstname.lastname@example.org.