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City committee seeks court improvements

City committee seeks court improvements

May 25th, 2018 by Philip Joens in Local News

The John G. Christy Municipal Building in downtown Jefferson City is pictured in this Dec. 1, 2016 photo.

Photo by Shelby Kardell /News Tribune.

The Jefferson City Finance Committee on Thursday recommended the city use at least $75,000 from the ongoing Fire Station No. 2 replacement project to complete renovations at the new home of the Jefferson City Municipal Court.

Plans to move Fire Station No. 2 from 2400 E. McCarty St. to a new station at 3025 Robinson Road came in about $480,000 under budget. The city wants to move municipal court proceedings from the Jefferson City Council chambers at 320 E. McCarty St. into a space in the City Hall Annex Building at 427 Monroe St. to take pressure off City Hall on court days.

The Jefferson City Parks, Recreation and Forestry Department was located on the top floor of the City Hall Annex before it moved to The Linc last spring. Jefferson City Fire Department offices occupy the bottom level.

A feasibility study for the project calculated construction costs of $326,329-$438,654, 12 percent higher than originally estimated. Additional costs associated with the bid pushed it to $527,975. Jefferson City Counselor Ryan Moehlman told the committee the city later found about $10,000 in cost savings, but the city's estimated cost of $5,000 for security doors was about $10,000 low.

"While going through that exercise we realized that allowance was probably low based on some more recent work," Moehlman said. "Essentially, what we did was take $10,000 off the project cost then add another $10,000."

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The Jefferson City Municipal Court currently operates out of the council chambers every Wednesday. City planners allocated $20,000 for seating options. Rows of individual chairs could be used for the main court area, which could make the space usable for non-court uses, Moehlman said. The city also owns a small vacant church building on Monroe Street near the City Hall Annex.

The Architects Alliance Principal Architect Cary Gampher helped complete the feasibility study. Gampher said pews in the church could make for ideal seating. Moehlman said the city estimated the process of removing these pews, modifying the existing shoes on the pews and installing them would cost $3,335, but it likely would limit use of the space to municipal court uses.

Gampher said the existing HVAC system in the building is aging and needs to be replaced.

JCFD Chief Matt Schofield said the department could spare about $75,000 from the Fire Station No. 2 budget, but he wants the city to be cautious.

"There is a bit of margin there," Schofield said. "I would be hesitant to go much further just because there's always unknowns."

One percent sales tax collections amounted to $709,248.07 last month, an increase of $36,477 from projections. For the year, 1 percent sales tax collections are up about 0.4 percent, or $50,242.

Lodging taxes collections for April amounted to $128,969. Hotel occupancy rates of 61.7 percent were down slightly from April 2017.