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Proceed with Town Hall Renovation - YES

After receiving and analyzing staff's report comparing the costs and benefits of renovating our dilapidated Town Hall versus purchasing or renting office space elsewhere, I voted yes to proceeding with the planned renovation of Town Hall.

My reasoning was threefold. On renting, I couldn't see any justification for squandering away thousands of taxpayer dollars every month without gaining any equity for taxpayers, or a permanent home for Town operations in a facility over which the Town had an adequate level of control (for example, it would be a disaster if the Town tried to set up a charging station during a PSPS power outage, only to be rebuffed by our landlord).

On purchasing, we closely examined the strongest candidates (all commercial properties for sale in town), but when costs for purchase, taxes, tenant improvements (to retrofit an office building into an appropriate Town Hall) and maintenance were factored in, purchasing didn't present any substantial savings over renovating Town Hall, and any small savings that may have been realized were easily outweighed by other factors, chief among them being the location of all otherwise suitable commercial properties in the flood zone.

By renovating Town Hall, we can best achieve the public's needs: we are able to maintain taxpayer control over our most important public facility, provide safe spaces for staff to work and the public to meet and conduct business, insulate our investment from both flood and fire hazards, and provide important new public amenities like a Community Room, which will serve as a much-needed augmentation to our aging Community Center down the street.

There's one more benefit that, while not a deciding factor, is worth mentioning: by renovating rather than purchasing or leasing commercial office space, we are able to preserve and protect Corte Madera's community identity, creating a cost-effective but beautiful Town Hall that is both functional and inspires civic pride. A Town Hall is in many ways an icon of a community, and I think our community certainly deserves a Town Hall we can feel proud of.


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