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Sandusky City Hall: Fix old or build new?

Andy Ouriel • Dec 10, 2012 at 8:54 AM

Talks about a new government complex recently surfaced when officials discussed expanding the municipal court facility, rooted inside City Hall.

City commissioners asked Sandusky's chief building official, George Poulos, how he'd proceed with a desperately needed courtroom renovation, estimated at $2 million.

Poulos hesitated to approve piecemeal upgrades in some areas throughout City Hall, since he considers the structure architecturally weak.

For instance: Many of the facility's single-pane windows extract heat from the interior, which has resulted in taxpayers fronting $191,000 for gas and electric bills during the past three years.

Poulos said he'd prefer to build an entirely new complex, instead of spending new money on an antiquated building.

Many commissioners seem eager to begin researching the possibility of a new City Hall, taking into account the project's cost and building efficiencies.

"Let's get the ball rolling," commissioner Keith Grohe said.

There are, however, some hurdles.

Perkins Township trustees stashed away funds throughout several years to cover all related costs for their project.

Sandusky doesn't have any extra money for such a project.

In August, when commissioners relaunched talks about possibly relocating City Hall, city finance director Hank Solowiej urged the seven commissioner to forgo spending millions of dollars the city can't afford.

"We don't have that in our bank," Solowiej said, referring to the city breaking even in its $15.5 million budget this year. Investing in a new City Hall "would put a tremendous amount of strain on the type of capital projects you would want to do," Solowiej said.

Read more pros and cons of each option in today's Register or e-paper.

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