Jessica Mathews /

A bid could be awarded in early January for a project to consolidate Howell City Hall.

At Monday night’s Council meeting, City Manager Erv Suida stated they had a lot of interest with over 30 plan-holders and there was a full building for a walk-thru, which means they’ll likely get good competitive bids.

Bids were to be opened on Tuesday and plans call for consolidating the second and third floors to the first-floor area, which previously housed a bank. The bank moved out and that space sat vacant for a number of months with limited interest from potential tenants.

The consolidation and moving of staff offices would be more convenient for residents and allow for better efficiencies with both floors in one location.

Suida reported they’re also looking at some other changes. As an alternate, he relayed they’re also re-thinking the Police Department, which is currently located on the first floor. Suida stated they’ll be meeting with bond counsel to see what that could look like.

Suida said they’re looking at moving the Police Department to the second floor and remodeling that in order to move Council Chambers up to the first floor – stressing it’s important that both public meetings and elections are accessible and not relying on an elevator.

Depending on how the bids came out, Suida said they could be looking at pushing forward with some other renovations – which could be done by the 2024 election.

If bids are favorable and Council decides to move forward with the project, a bid could potentially be awarded at the January 9th meeting. Suida said work could possibly begin toward the end of January or February with hopes of moving and consolidating everyone on the first floor by May.