K. Mennem 7:17 p.m., June 17
A Response to the Grand Jury Report on New City Hall
The city's independent budget analyst teamed up with the Centre City Development Corporation and the mayor's office to craft a response to a San Diego County Grand Jury report that raised red flags regarding a proposal to build a new city hall. They responded on September 7 by questioning the data used and the statements made by the grand jury.
"Despite the extensive public record of this effort and the considerable knowledge of the independent experts enlisted to find the best solution for the city and its taxpayers, the Grand Jury drew a number of inaccurate conclusions," read the response.
In the May 23 grand jury report, members focused on supposed inaccuracies in estimated lease rates as well as claims that city and CCDC staff failed to look at other alternatives.
"The future lease escalation rate used in the consultant’s study is unrealistically high, resulting in exaggeration of the cost savings the City would accrue by building a new city hall," read the report.
Instead of the $2.50-to-$2.75 per square foot cost from 2008, the grand jury felt actual rates were more like $1.70-$1.90 per square foot in 2011.
Responding to that, the independent budget analyst, mayor's office, and CCDC claimed that the grand jury failed to look at a later study that estimated lease rates to be much lower; however, they were far above the $1.70-$1.90 price range.
"The City has no evidence to support the Grand Jury’s statement that 2011 market lease rates range
from $1.70-$1.90 per square foot for contiguous spaces of 50,000 square feet or greater in downtown Class 'B' office buildings."
As for the city limiting their options, the response says no alternatives were explored during the three-year evaluation.
The response will be presented to the rules committee on September 14.