Alabaster planning for new City Hall

By NEAL WAGNER / City Editor

Alabaster officials are looking at funding options for a possible new City Hall building near the Alabaster senior center, and the project could move forward after the new year, council members said.

During its Oct. 3 meeting, the Alabaster City Council approved a $22.3 million city operating budget which included merit raises, longevity pay and bonuses for city employees.

However, Alabaster does not approve a separate budget for capital improvement projects, and instead formulates plans for the projects. Plans for the year’s upcoming capital improvement projects could move forward in 30-45 days, Alabaster City Administrator George Henry said.

“With everything else that’s going on right now, the council wants some time to examine the project before they move forward with it,” Henry said.

Alabaster Mayor David Frings said he plans to ask the City Council for about $2 million to fund a “modest” new City Hall building next to the Alabaster Senior Center off Seventh Street Southwest.

“I am proposing doing a $2 million new City Hall building that could consolidate a lot of our services under the same roof,” Frings said. “We are looking for a way to fund it right now.”

Frings said the project could be paid for with the help of a state account funded by revenues from offshore drilling operations.

“I think we could make the payments on the building from that,” Frings said.

Ward 6 Alabaster Councilman Scott Brakefield said he supported the mayor’s plan for a new City Hall, and said it could help consolidate many of the city’s services.

The new City Hall could consolidate the city court, the Department of Building Services and city administration. Currently, the city’s departments are spread out in several different aging buildings.

“I really like the concepts and rough drawings the mayor has shown us,” Brakefield said. “We will just have to look at the funding.

“If it is financially possible, I think there is definitely a need. I think it could be a lot more efficient to have everything under one roof,” Brakefield added. “I will be excited to see the final plan.”