County/City could relocate government - 13abc.com Toledo (OH) News, Weather and Sports

County/City could relocate government

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High rent could force Toledo city government, and Lucas County government, to move from it 22-story building on Jefferson Street, downtown.

The building has been the seat of government for the two governments for 30-years.

Toledo uses 161,000 square feet, from the 17th floor all the way to the 22nd where the mayors office is located.

City Councilman Rob Ludeman (R) says the city pays for too much space and the state, which operates the building,
is slacking on maintenance.  Some windows need repair and there are leaks causing mold.

Ludeman says the city cannot justify paying a higher rent for a building that needs work.  "How do you charge more rent for anything if you are not taking care of the property?" he asks.

The state owns the building and its operating by the Department of Administrative Services.  DAS is hiking the rent from just over $1,012,000 a year to $1,481,395.   That's a 48 percent jump!

"It was a shock to us."

The mayor's chief of staff knows an extra $500,000 dollars in rent hurts taxpayers.  Bob Reinbolt wants a long-term deal, but not at that price, saying,  "I think it's an opportunity to look at our expense and look at other options we have."

And Lucas County has a decision to make.  County governmental departments occupy 100,000 square feet of the One Government Center building.  The county is also facing higher rent.

Commissioner Pete Gerken (D) is not ready to give in, however, saying "I think it's fair and reasonable that the state may have to compete for our business and I'm all for keeping our options open."

The higher rent was a topic during this week's budget meeting at Toledo City Council.  Councilman Larry Sykes (D) says "Every time I come into my office for the last two months I sneeze and cough."

Council members seem willing to relocate, if necessary, but the problem is– even with a rent hike– the space is still cheaper than most in the downtown area.

The state wants to charge $9.18/sq foot, up from $6.20.

But despite bristling at the higher rent, there may be no place else for the city and county governments to go.

Mayor D. Michael Collins says it comes down to money.  "The move is not going to be free and I don't have the money in this budget to move the city to a location at this time."

We called the Department of Administrative Services to find out why the rent was going up 47 percent… but no one go back to us.

As for the county and the city, they hope to stay, just not at what they consider too high a price.

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