Amarillo City Hall isn’t going to ask me for political advice, given that I don’t live in Amarillo, but I’ll offer it anyway.
If the city proceeds with a bond issue next year to determine whether residents want to re-do the Civic Center and relocate City Hall to a new location, the city needs to reveal to voters which site it has in mind to move its administrative offices.
One of my Amarillo spies has told me the city hasn’t yet made that decision public, if it’s made it at all. My spy believes the city might want to keep it secret while it negotiates with whomever owns whatever structure the city wants to acquire.
I believe the city needs to tell residents where it wants to go if it is going to ask them to pony up $300 million-plus on an array of public improvement projects.
To keep that information quiet would ring the death knell for the city’s efforts to vacate its current City Hall building for another existing building in downtown Amarillo.
Residents there, as I understand it, remain a bit skeptical of the city’s claim of transparency.
I also am willing to argue that the city shouldn’t ask voters to approve a relocation if it doesn’t have a site in mind. Part of the cost of that bond issue is going to include preparing a new building to become home to many city administrative functions. How in the world does the city spell out the cost if it doesn’t have an idea of where it intends to move and what it intends to do with whatever property it is considering for purchase?
A citywide bond election in 2020 is going to be a big deal. The Civic Center improvements appear to be warranted. The city also wants to revamp the Santa Fe Depot structure just east of the Civic Center.
A City Hall relocation remains a problem, particularly if city officials don’t reveal to the “bosses,” the voters who pay the bill, where they intend to put a new city office structure.