The Manteca City Council could save taxpayers $150,000 over the next two years in office space costs by leasing temporary office trailers that would be placed at the wastewater treatment plant to house the Public Works Department.
The council when they meet Tuesday at 7 p.m. at the Civic Center, 1001 W. Center St., will be asked to approve a rental agreement with Pacific Modular Structures for 27 months for a 48- by 60-foot office to house Public Works while work is being done on a $987,570 permanent building that will also house the engineering and water division. The mobile structure is similar to the portable building Public Works now uses on the Civic Center campus next to the Parks & Recreation Department.
The money for the permanent public works building is cobbled together from various accounts that do not involve the general fund such as solid waste, wastewater treatment, and water. The budget set aside for the permanent building and shop structure was $1.2 million. That set aside will be able to cover both the permanent building and rental building and still have $70,000 left over.
The rental agreement with Pacific Modular Structures will cost $154,258. It includes $4,100.08 a month for rent for 27 months, $29,148.49 for set up costs, and $14,406.08 for removal.
Once Public Works is moved to the mobile structure, the city will move the Human Resources Department and Information and Technology Division out of space they are renting at a two-story office complex at 302 Cherry Lane kitty corner from the Manteca Senior Center and into the current space housing public works. That will save the city $150,000 in rental costs over the next two years.
While it may appear to be a wash — the $154,258 rental cost versus the $150,000 in rental savings by accelerating the move to the Civic Center from 302 Cherry Lane — it actually frees up $150,000 in the general fund to cover day-to-day government operations such as police and fire, parks and recreation, the library street maintenance, and library services.
It also represents a course change by the city. The council had approached the owner of the Cherry Lane to sell to the city but he declined.
City Manager Tim Ogden relooked at space use and determined it would be more cost effective to not just bring human services and IT back onto the main city office campus but to do so two years earlier.
Ogden said the city shouldn’t be in the business of essentially making it profitable for private landlords to construct and own buildings noting that the city over the years has essentially spent enough in rent to replicate the office space at 302 Cherry Lane in a permanent structure.
Ogden recommended the council take a similar step earlier this year when they executed an option for an early buyout of land they were leasing where the animal shelter was built. That moved saved Manteca from making hundreds of thousands of dollars in rent payments after the price of the land purchase was factored in.
In addition Ogden noted much of the public works attention is tied into the wastewater treatment. Once the permanent building is done the city will save an additional $7,200 a month by ending leases for the water division office space.
Also it would put human resources and IT that support other city departments on the same campus with most of the other departments as well as the city manager’s office.
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