Welcome Center in current municipal building
City hall may house welcome center; $20 public works fee to be levied in Clinton
Clinton City Council voted unanimously last night to spend $125,193 to replace the HVAC system in the M.S. Bailey Municipal Center.
Council also heard City Manager Bill Cannon recommend the city move the utility billing department out of the main building and into the old adjacent bank building, which includes several drive-in windows.
Cannon said once that move is made, he would also like to renovate the current utility payment area as a city welcome center. There has been discussion about building a new $400,000 welcome center, but Cannon said if the center is in the M.S. Bailey Municipal Center, it could be manned five days a week during business hours.
The city has $180,000 designated in hospitality tax revenue to be used for the new welcome center. Cannon said he will seek legal advice to make sure that money can be used in the Bailey Center for a welcome center.
“I like that idea,” Mayor Bob McLean said. “To spend $400,000 on a welcome center for a building nobody will be at, that’s something I can’t support.”
Council member Shirley Jenkins said she likes the idea of moving utility billing/payments to the bank drive-in windows because so many of the city’s customers are elderly and have to get out of their vehicles to go inside the building to pay utility bills.
Regarding the new heating and air system for the Bailey building, Cannon said the city needs to investigate some new technology. “We should explore our options to see what’s best long-term for the City of Clinton,” the city manager said.
The building’s current boiler system was built in 1959 and parts are hard to find, according to information provided to council. It cost the city $5,000 to add Freon during one week in February.
Council also voted unanimously to re-implement a $20 public works fee for fiscal year 2019. The $52,000 raised by the fee will be part of the FY 18-19 budget. Council will begin budget talks soon.
The public works fee money must be used to fund paving for city-owned streets or to purchase capital equipment for the streets and parks departments.
Council also voted unanimously to convert a part-time position in the budget to fulltime with the employee – currently in the administrative service department – becoming a receptionist in the Municipal Center.
“Everyone who calls city hall encounters problems,” Cannon said. “I’ve had a lot of complaints.”
Mayor McLean said he is one of the people who complained.
Written information said: “The phone calls here are answered when there is someone available to answer them in the department where they are directed. We have received numerous complaints from customers regarding not being able to get someone to answer in all departments and this is hurting the customer service we strive to provide.”
Council met in executive session for 55 minutes to discuss two contractual matters, but took no action after returning to open session.