Hudson -- City departments are scattered around the city, but Council Jan. 16 unanimously approved a lease for office space, consolidating seven departments under one roof.
City Manager Anthony Bales recommended Council approve leasing 11,248-square feet of office space from Jacklin Properties LLC at 115 Executive Parkway, Suite 400, to consolidate the City Manager's Office, Clerk of Council, Finance, Information Systems, Community Development, Economic Development and Engineering departments into a single location.
Former Council member John Jeffers, who was honored for his nine years of service, asked Council to reconsider the move because the Town Hall building is the "essence of Hudson."
Council President David Basil said most of the offices that would move to the new location are not in Town Hall, and the three-year lease would give the city an opportunity to see how consolidation works before considering a permanent city facility. The other Council members agreed.
Last year Council and the city worked on a Strategic Plan and one of the goals was to improve efficiency, effectiveness, quality and availability of services, according to Bales. One of the associated topics included the need for improved government facilities.
"The lease payments would essentially be equal to our current lease payments," Bales said.
The savings from the relocation of Community Development, IS/GIS, Engineering and Economic Development would be offset by the relocation of the City Manager's Office and Finance Department.
The first year would cost $35,000 more but includes approximately $20,000 to 50,000 for moving, minor building renovations and fixtures, furnishings and equipment. The second and third year would be approximately $3,000 to 4,000 more.
The benefits of a combined administrative staff and retaining current vacancies in staff could be approximately $100,000 annually, Bales said.
"I am confident that there will be opportunities to reduce staff with a consolidation, primarily through a reduction of administrative support personnel," Bales said.
Currently, there are two full-time positions vacant and two part-time positions vacant that can be reorganized to provide savings. In addition, copiers, office equipment and supplies would be consolidated.
Coordination and communication would improve between departments, which could perform more efficiently being physically in the same building, according to Bales.
The city would have an opportunity to study the merging of separate departments as suggested in the Strategic Plan, he said.
City Council Meetings and other public meetings would still be at Town Hall. The former Finance Department offices could be converted into a conference room, shared office space for elected officials, copy room and storage room. Also, the City could begin conversations with other organizations for use of the first floor.
Council member Alex Kelemen said freed up space at Town Hall could be used for Council members to have office hours and meet with residents.
The proposed lease includes an incentive of $1,500 per month lease through July 31, 2013, which would begin upon move-in. Staff anticipates a move-in date of March 1, 2013.