BY EMILY MIBACH
Daily Post Staff Writer
Some Los Altos City Council members obviously aren’t happy with their current council chambers. Six months after deciding to spend $1.2 million to renovate the chambers, they talked about moving the council meetings to the city’s Youth Center.
But Mayor Lynette Lee Eng said she wanted to hold off on making any decisions until the council sorts out its priorities for fixing up all city-owned buildings.
“The police are suffering because they have no HVAC, and I think that’s a higher priority,” Lee Eng said.
The discussion occurred June 25 when council considered moving its meetings from city hall to the Los Altos Youth Center, which is in the same block. This year, the city made a few improvements to the council chambers, such as adding carpeting. Council in January also approved spending $1.2 million to update technology in the council chambers. The technology is used to record and stream council meetings.
City Clerk Jon Maginot said in his report that the council chamber’s seating capacity is between 65 and 70, but 100 people can comfortably fit in the Youth Center’s room.
Most of the council members on Tuesday said they were in favor of moving the meetings to the Youth Center.
“I think it’s a great opportunity,” Councilwoman Jeannie Bruins said. She said the council chambers space could be repurposed so that it could be used as office space for city employees.
Bruins urged the council to make a decision, saying she didn’t want the city to pay the money to outfit the current chambers with new equipment and then do the same thing at the Youth Center.
But Councilwoman Anita Enander said she is comfortable with spending the money to revamp the chamber’s technology, because by the time the council decides whether to move the chambers and the project is completed, the technology will be obsolete.
Councilwoman Jan Pepper suggested that some of the technology will move with the council if it decides to go to youth center, and by that point, the city will have more money in its technology funds to buy more equipment if needed.
Councilwoman Nesya Fligor suggested that the council hold a couple of meetings to youth center on a trial basis to see if moving there full time would work out.
But Lee Eng said the council needs to figure out what its priorities are regarding all city buildings, not just the council chambers.
Lee Eng said a higher priority is the historic Halsey House at 482 University Ave., which is boarded up and is in desperate need of a renovation.
The council ultimately decided to add the Youth Center building to a longer list of buildings and other projects that might get attention with dollars from the city surplus and reserves. The city has about $80 million it can use, city Financial Commission member Gary Kalbach said.