PERRYSBURG — A new city municipal building and public utilities building could be on the horizon.

At last week’s meeting, council approved a resolution for Bowen and Associates to draw up plans for the new public utilities building at a cost of $44,850.

“The utilities building, for example, is past what it needs for attention,” Mayor Tom Mackin said.

He said that the project had been delayed because of the pandemic and that the public utilities building was not up to code with the Americans with Disabilities Act.

Administrator Bridgette Kabat pointed out that this is for a general conceptual design, not an architectural one, so it should have a long shelf life. At the committee meeting, she said that there wasn’t one unused space in the current utilities building.

The building had been used for several purposes over the years, with sections repurposed many times.

Council President Jonathan Smith said that in committee he had voted for the plan creation and felt that it was needed three years ago.

Council also is considering a new municipal building.

Smith said that he had concerns about two large capital projects taking place at the same time.

“Neither one of these is coming to you before there is a problem. We’ve experienced problems. We know there are issues, issues that have been long standing,” Mackin said.

Finance Director Amber Rathburn called the plans “very preliminary.”

Smith was concerned about rising interest rates, to which Rathburn replied that another municipality had recently sold bonds at 4½%.

Councilman Cory Kuhlman asked which building was the priority and if one was delayed, what is the potential shelf life of the plans.

“Both have legitimate present needs,” Mackin said.

The resolution to award the design work was approved 6-0. Councilman Tim McCarthy was absent.

The city also had a first reading of a resolution to enter into an agreement with the Collaborative Inc. to create architectural and engineering plans for the new municipal building, which would include the police department, at a cost of $155,000.

It has been noted, both by Mackin and several council members before and during the meeting, that there are also ADA compliance issues with the aging municipal building. Prominently, there is a stair lift that Mackin said was inoperable for a recent meeting that included a person with a wheelchair.

Kuhlman called it “a first bite in a large-scale project.” He argued against passage of the resolution that night.

Kabat said the project could be in the $14 million range and compared it to the current Bowling Green municipal building project.

Passage of the resolution failed 2-4, with only council members Jan Materni and Barry VanHoozen in favor of moving ahead with the award. The resolution was presented as an emergency, which would have waived the second and third readings. Council then had a first reading of the issue.

Smith and Councilman Mark Weber said that they wanted an in-depth look at the complex, so they can answer questions from the public.

Kuhlman encouraged the public to comment at the next meeting, when the second reading is to take place.

Smith asked for a walk-through of both the municipal building and the public utilities building. He last had a tour of the public utilities building four years ago, when discussions had first been brought up to potentially build new or make renovations.

Smith also suggested that the administration speak with the courts, whose building is connected to the current municipal building.

Materni, chair of the service committee, said that $156,000 had been included in the 2022 budget for funding of updates to the police department facilities, which would now be rolled into the municipal building update.

Councilman Kevin Fuller, during the service committee meeting on Sept. 28, suggested that a parking garage be added to the building, and that it might be subterranean.

“I was surprised by certain council members’ surprise about this legislation, because we had been talking about the inadequacies of our building, from ADA compliance space, ever since the boiler went out in 2020,” Materni said in a follow-up interview.

The committee had agreed, 3-0, on Sept. 28, to recommend the agreement with the Collaborative.

Former Councilwoman Deborah Born had several questions for the council about the need for the new buildings and what land might be used for the buildings.