The D.C. City Council this week sent back to committee and postponed voting on a $1 million plan that would relocate and create new office spaces for Council members and their staff on the ground and first floors of the District Building.
At the same time, Council members voted to seek whatever funds the city could get, estimated to be from $500,000 to $1 million, from the Federal Economic Development Administration before a June 16 deadline for filing applications. That money would be used when the Council finally decides on a plan to create more office space in either in the District Building or some other city-owned building.
Council member Willie J. Hardy (D-7) chairperson pro tempore, project officer for the study to find additional Council space, had hoped that the Council would be able to decide Monday on the proposal.
But the proposal, a cooperative effort between Hardy and Council member William R. Spaulding (D-5) and his committee on administration and personnel, got heavy criticism from about half the Council members who complained that the $1 million price tag was too high. They also questioned whether additional office space in other city-owned buildings would be cheaper to use in finding additional space.
"I am opposed to spending $1 million," said Council member PollyShackleton (D-3). "Our people are complaining about taxes and the lack of delivery of services, and I think that improving our image (the Council's) is not the most important thing at this time," she said.
Hardy's proposal, which would renovate about 35,000 square feet on the ground and first floors of the District Building, would include installing carpeting throughout the areas, building metal partitions and creating modular offices for all of the Council members and their staffs. The plan would also install new mechanical duct work on the first floor and would install a new air conditioning unit. In addition, a new heating system would be needed for the two floors. Total construction costs are estimated to be $700,000; relocation expenses for the offices now occupying those floors would be $148,000.