City hall project budget set at $17M
City officials in Cottage Grove last week took another step toward the construction of a new combined public safety and city government facility, officially approving a $17 million budget for the project that officials have said they believe will cost far less.
The move set a $17 million ceiling for the project that gained renewed focus from the city council after a January workshop. Officials are set to interview architectural firms for the project later this month. City council members are scheduled to approve a contract with the chosen architectural firm in August.
A more accurate cost estimate for the facility -- set to be constructed near a Washington County satellite office on Ravine Parkway off of Highway 19 -- will be available then, city administrator Ryan Schroeder has said.
Mayor Myron Bailey has said he expects that figure to be far below $17 million, and called the new city government building "long overdue."
Despite the estimated price tag of more than $15 million, officials say the city will be able to construct the facility with no impact on the city's tax levy.
Already, Cottage Grove has set aside more than $4 million in a municipal building replacement fund. Two existing bonds would also be paid off by the city using a debt service fund, freeing up millions of dollars to be used for repayment of the debt incurred during construction of the new city hall.
The existing 34,000 square-foot public safety and city hall building on 80th Street was built in 1968, when the city had 12,000 residents and 28 employees, city administrator Ryan Schroeder said. It was expanded five years later, and the police department garage was added in 1985.
With more than twice as many city employees now, the city and police department have outgrown the current space, Schroeder said. The new 58,000 square-foot city hall is being built for a population of 66,000 and a city workforce of more than 100, he said at a council meeting last week.