The Everett Municipal Building on Wetmore sits just across the street from the old city hall, which houses the Everett Police Department. A new study contends that many city buildings will need upgrades and repairs over the next two decades. (Dan Bates / The Herald)

The Everett Municipal Building on Wetmore sits just across the street from the old city hall, which houses the Everett Police Department. A new study contends that many city buildings will need upgrades and repairs over the next two decades. (Dan Bates / The Herald)

Everett facilities’ ‘to-do’ list could cost over $150 million

A new report tabulated the cost of necessary repairs and maintenance in aging city-owned buildings.

EVERETT — Fixing the city’s long “to-do” list of building repairs could cost more than $150 million over the next 20 years, according to a recently completed assessment.

“Buildings are not forever,” Everett facility manager Jeff Harris said at the City Council meeting last week. “It’s not a mountain or a rock structure. They are semi-permanent structures that need to be maintained over time. There’s quite a cost to that.”

Everett is responsible for cleaning, managing and repairing 143 buildings containing more than 1 million square feet of space used for general government, golf and transit operations. The 1,800-page study from MENG Analysis listed problems ranging from cracked concrete, to failing cooling and heating units, to the need for a backup generator at a fire station. The study ranked whether the repairs should be addressed as a priority, within six years or over the next two decades. The city paid the Seattle-based firm $197,023 for the evaluation.

The majority of the repair costs, more than $130 million, would go toward general government buildings, such as City Hall, the Everett Municipal Building and police precincts. Golf and transit facilities were considered separately and their needed repairs are expected to be paid for without using city property tax revenue. The study excluded public works department buildings. The department has its own facilities repair plan, expected to be finished this year, and could move its headquarters from its current location on Cedar Street, facilities and property management director Paul Kaftanski said.

A 20-year estimate of needed repair work at police headquarters on Wetmore Avenue totalled more than $20 million. Maintenance cost projections at the main Everett Public Library were similar.

“We’re not talking the Rolls-Royce of buildings here,” Harris said. “I’m just saying to keep it going, make sure the lights work, the plumbing works, the heat works, this is what you should be spending.”

Staff can’t keep up with the aging structures and their cooling, heating, electrical and plumbing systems, Everett officials said.

One costly example was the Everett Municipal Building’s elevator controls, a projected $2 million update.

“We have six maintenance workers to manage 143 properties and a million square feet and millions (of dollars) in observed deficiencies,” Mayor Cassie Franklin said. “Obviously for elevators we don’t have the skill set in house, but even when we have the skill set, if it’s an immediate, urgent need, often we don’t have the manpower to deliver on it.”

Everett lacked an emphasis on preventative maintenance, which led to more emergency and patchwork repairs, Harris said.

“Now the HVAC doesn’t work at all in this building,” he said, during the council meeting at the Municipal Building. “And there is nothing I can do except replace the massive HVAC unit on top of this building.”

The city lacked a computerized maintenance-management system to track issues for buildings. The recent study provides a baseline for the city to use as a starting point in its “to-do” list.

“Our team, our very lean and hard-working team, would love to spend their time doing preventative maintenance,” Franklin said. “But there’s too much emergency maintenance happening on a daily basis for us to have any time or ability to do that.”

Based on the analysis, the repair costs are still well below 50% of the replacement value, the tipping point when Everett could consider scrapping and rebuilding, if it had the funds to do so.

“It’s like your house, you don’t want to be underwater on your house,” Harris said. “You don’t want to have to spend $200,000 on a $400,000 house.”

With a to-do list established, the city will prioritize critical problems it can afford to repair based on current funding. Other projects will be up to department heads and the Everett City Council, such as those covered in the long-range strategy, which addresses whether buildings should be kept or sold.

The ability to address its facilities’ needs is complicated by Everett’s ongoing budget deficit. With property tax increases capped at 1% without voter approval and city costs rising at an average of 3.8% mostly due to labor, there’s not much money available without shifting priorities or a voter-backed levy lid lift.

Ben Watanabe: bwatanabe@heraldnet.com; 425-339-3037; Twitter @benwatanabe.

Talk to us

More in Local News

The Monroe Correctional Complex on Thursday, April 9, 2020. Inmates held a demonstration on Wednesday night after six inmates tested positive for COVID-19. (Kevin Clark / The Herald)
Another outbreak sends 60 to isolation at Monroe prison unit

One worker and one prisoner tested positive Monday. Then more cases were found throughout the Twin Rivers Unit.

A fatal crash prompted closure of West Mukilteo Boulevard between Forest Park and Dogwood Drive Friday afternoon. (Everett Police Department) 20211126
2 dead, 1 injured in T-bone crash in Everett

The two people who died are believed to be in their 80s. Police don’t suspect alcohol, drugs or speed played a role.

Resident escapes burning trailer near Gold Bar

Nobody was injured in the fire Saturday, but the home was destroyed.

1 dead, 3 injured in 5-car crash east of Stanwood

Katrina Kakalecik, 27, of Granite Falls, was a passenger in an SUV that was rear-ended on Thanksgiving.

A woman walks a dog in downtown Snohomish on Oct. 22. (Sue Misao / The Herald)
Snohomish adopts sales tax for mental health, affordable housing

The city’s new 0.1% tax is also under consideration elsewhere in Snohomish County.

Kyle Wheeler listens as he is convicted of second-degree manslaughter in Snpohomish County Superior Court on Thursday August 12, 2021 in Everett, Wash. ( Ellen Dennis /The Herald)
When killer skipped prison date, family’s mourning turned to fear

A judge sentenced Kyle Wheeler for killing an Everett man, Charles Hatem, then freed him on a promise to report to prison.

Michael Ciaravino
Ex-Mill Creek manager gets $92K severance after rocky tenure

Deputy City Manager Martin Yamamoto has temporarily taken over after Michael Ciaravino’s resignation.

Shawneri Guzman, center, who was named Washington's Fire Educator of the Year and her team of Community Resource firefighter paramedics Janette Anderson, left, and Captain Nicole Picknell, right, at the Lynnwood Fire Station on Wednesday, Nov. 17, 2021 in Lynnwood, Wa. (Olivia Vanni / The Herald)
A pandemic playbook, used nationally, was made in Snohomish County

South County Fire helped transport “patient zero.” Their COVID manual has helped departments far and wide.

Charges: Everett ID thief tried to buy wheels, speakers, more

The man, 33, was charged this week with 10 counts of identity theft in Snohomish County Superior Court.

Most Read