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VANCOUVER, WA-A new City Hall next to Clark County’s planned new Public Service Center is the latest plan for accommodating the city’s expanding services without breaking the budget. Moreover, it’s the least expensive, and it’s not a bad idea to have the major city and county services adjacent each other.

Originally, the plan was to build a city hall that could fit all city employees under one roof. Then again, the plan was also to build it on the historic Academy school block, and include a new Downtown branch for the Fort Vancouver Regional Library in the designs. City officials say the plan is the result of being more prudent with the available cash in the city’s budget. The city should still be able to get out from under some $900,000 in annual lease fees, but it will require a friendly game of musical buildings similar to what the county is planning as a result of its proposed new building, which would save the county even more in lease fees than the city.

The would-be development site for both governments is west of Franklin Street and north of 13th Street, and is already owned by the county. When the county’s building is complete in 2002, the treasurer, auditor, assessor and prosecutor’s offices and staffs will move out of the courthouse to make room for more judges and courtrooms. The prosecutor will be the only one of those agencies not to move into the new building. Instead, it will move into a remodeled Franklin Building, which currently houses the county commissioners and administrative staff, who will join the treasurer, auditor, assessor in the new building.

Assuming the new city hall is built next to the county’s new building, the city’s major offices will move in, and the police department may backfill the old City Hall. And if that happens, the library may move into the police department’s current quarters, and the historical society may move into the library’s existing site on Mill Plain Boulevard. At issue is the fact that the current city hall and police administration building were built in 1966 to support a population 25% of what it is today.

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