TIPP CITY — The Tipp City City Council held a study session prior to the council’s meeting on Tuesday evening to discuss the next steps in the city’s plan to acquire property to improve the area surrounding the Interstate 75, state Route 571 interchange and to review the plan for the expansion of the Tipp City Government Center.
The discussion of next steps for the city’s improvement plans centered around whether council would prefer to have the City Council be in charge of property acquisitions or if council would prefer to let the Community Investment Corporation (CIC) handle property acquisition for the interchange improvement project.
The first meeting of the CIC is scheduled for Tuesday, Feb. 28. During the meeting the CIC, which includes a quorum of council members, plans to discuss mission goals and begin forming a plan and determining a starting budget to request from council.
Also during the study session, the council received an update from Doug Arnold, IT and facilities manager for Tipp City, about the upcoming Government Center expansion project.
The current plan to expand and update the Tipp City Government Center includes updates to the server room, IT office, roof and window replacements, records retention and finance office enclosures.
The center is in desperate need of a new server room and secure records retention or storage space. The plan is to use the infill space between the Government Center and the Tipp City Police Department that is currently not being utilized.
The infill space will be renovated to include a larger IT office, new server room and larger records storage. The new server room is necessary because simply remodeling the current space is not going to fix the multiple issues with fire codes.
“Our server room is very dated, it violates fire code, I’ll be honest with you. We can’t fix the problems we have with our server room. It is the most vital room to this city’s operation. Without it you’re dead in the water,” said Arnold. “It (the new server room) allows us to have increased size, remove our fire code violations, redundant proper server room rated air conditioning, redundant proper battery backups, clean agent fire suppression for the size of the room, and one caveat is that it’ll save us some money on our current room that we don’t have to be replacing some of the stuff.”
The new, larger IT office is necessary to increase staffing in the IT department. The current IT office has no room for additional staff to be trained before Arnold’s upcoming retirement.
The enclosures planned for the financial and utility billing offices have become necessary due to the issue of privacy. It has come to the city’s attention that the individuals working in these offices have no privacy from each other or customers to discuss private information on the phone or in person with other staff members or customers.
Updating and expanding the city’s records storage area is one of the more pertinent portions of this plan. With new laws requiring the police to hold onto evidence from homicides indefinitely and the city’s current lack of storage area even for citizen records, a larger and more secure area is necessary to store these items. A previous discussion of off-site storage was struck down due to multiple concerns of security risks, lack of climate control and poor customer service and potential safety issues that would result from staff having to travel to an off-site storage location to track down records.
The plan is estimated to cost approximately $2 million and the City Council has already approved $1.4 million to be allocated to the project.
The next steps fro the Government Center Expansion Project are: on Feb. 22, contractors are sent out to bid on the project, on March 23 the council will have a pre-bid meeting and bid opening will be on the same day, then on April 3 bids will be sent to council for consideration.