Warren Mayor Doug Franklin and Safety/Service Director Enzo Cantalamessa are doing their due diligence to help the city make an informed decision about consolidating municipal operations into a government center, commonly referred to as a one-stop.
The administration completed an inventory of all city-owned buildings, their conditions and an itemized list of how much it would cost to bring them up to standard. Two architectural firms completed the assessment.
The information is important to help City Council decide whether to approve $10.5 million worth of bonds to move into a government center. Knowing specifically the cost of keeping operations status-quo, knowing which structures would be vacated if a central operation is chosen and knowing which employees would be transferred to the center is all part of the decision-making process.
We now know that fixing up old buildings will cost approximately $3.5 million to $4 million and that a new building would provide a 20 percent reduction in utilities.
Next is for Council and the community to receive more options in detail. This includes location, cost of land, cost of construction if building new or cost of renovation if restoring old, and a comparison to any and all private developers' proposals, including one to create a one-stop out of the former Delphi campus on Dana Street.
We caution against Cantalamessa's rush to pass a bond package by the end of the year and everybody should be satisfied that this week Franklin announced that such a goal might be unrealistic. There seem to be too many specifics to address in such a limited amount of time.
When the idea first surfaced during former mayor Michael O'Brien's tenure, little information was available to make a sound decision. We commend Franklin and Cantalamessa for starting to provide the necessary details.
There can be many advantages to vacating decaying buildings that are scattered about town and centralizing city departments in a single building in or near downtown. Before committing taxpayers to a decades-long loan and spending $10. 5 million, lots of research is necessary.
Franklin and Cantalamessa seem to get that.