Lease agreement between city, SOS awaiting signatures

DAVISON — City Manager Andrea Schroeder reported to the council Feb. 8 the lease agreement for the Secretary of State building is waiting for the state’s final approval.

The Philip J. Becker, Jr. Building, located at 300 N. Main St., has been the home of the Secretary of State’s office now for more than 10 years and during that time there has not been an increase in the rent.

For nearly one year, the Secretary of State offices in Davison have been operating without a lease agreement between the state and the city.

City Manager Andrea Schroeder said an agreement was in the works early last year, but the pandemic interrupted the process and the state has since been less receptive to a proposed increase in the lease.

The lease has been set at $10 per square foot, generating about $31,300 a year, for 10 years now.

City officials said they would like to see an increase to $12.25 per square foot, or $38,186 annually.

The council voted Jan. 25 to offer the Secretary of State office the revised lease, good until April of 2023 and retroactive back to April 1, 2020.

Schroeder reported to the council Feb. 8 that the lease is ready and waiting to be signed by the state officials and it is expected to be returned to the city sometime in the next month.

“We’re confident this time it will go through,” said Schroeder. “By the time all the signatures are done it will be about one month or so. The lease will be retroactive.”

Councilwoman Stacey Kalisz asked if the lease would include a requirement that the city replace the carpeting in the building, to which Schroeder confirmed it would not.

The city wants to re-evaluate the contract in 2023 to determine if the Secretary of State will continue to need the branch office or if efforts to modernize and streamline its operations, making much of it virtual, will mean more downsizing by the state.

At the council’s January meeting, Mayor Tim Bishop suggested putting the issue of selling the building on the ballot so the city can have the option to sell if it wants to.

Schroeder said at that time the city could investigate placing the issue on the Election 2022 ballot.