The Snoqualmie City Council once again demonstrated fiscal responsibility last week by reviewing existing city buildings and deciding to explore the use of the old firehall and former city hall building.
Both buildings could potentially be used to house city offices. In an ideal world in which money isn’t an issue, all city offices would be located in one central location. But realizing that money is an unknown future commodity, taking steps to control spending is the right thing to do.
The former bank and city hall building now being renovated was given to the city for use in the mid-1970s. There are really two options for the building: to continue to use it as a city facility or sell it to draw some type of retail or service (restaurant) that will generate tax revenue.
By retaining the building in the city’s inventory, the council realizes that a new municipal campus may be down the road quite a ways or, if money is a problem, may never come to fruition. The council appears to be prioritizing expenditures with the hopes of maybe pursuing the community center or some other municipal project.
The old firehall has served many purposes, but the best use yet proposed is to house a city department. Yes, there are floodplain issues, but think of the message the use of the old firehall will convey to downtown residents. That we are one city and we have the ability to effectively utilize city resources no matter where they are located.
I urge the City Council to move forward with its discussions regarding use of these two existing buildings and postpone discussions regarding building the new municipal campus. The big unknown is the tax base with the addition of Snoqualmie Ridge Phase II and postponing a municipal campus until the development is well under way will be in the best interests of the city’s taxpayers.