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Current leases on non-city-owned buildings could make move to Mills building difficult

Anson Mills Building (2).jpg

Currently, the city of El Paso’s Economic Development is housed in a city-owned building. But the city wants to move it to a different location.

Jessica Herrera is the director of economic development. She says it makes sense to have economic development work out of the Anson Mills building, where many of its partners are based.

"The goal of this move is for alignment,” Herrera said.

The city says it hopes to make the move at no cost to the taxpayer.

"That is what we are aiming for. Believe me,” Herrera said.

CBS4 on your side requested the lease contracts for all of the non-city- owned buildings where city employees work.

There are leases for the Metropolitan Planning Organization, El Paso Police Department’s Internal Affairs division, the city’s Tax Office and the El Paso Fire Department Administration offices.

Only one, the Internal Affairs' lease, is set to expire by 2019. The rest expire in 2020 or later.

"Right now, we're not at a point where we could say, 'We're going to terminate leases, we're going to move a department into a different place,’” Herrera said.

Another factor: The economic development department is made up of 15 employees. Some of the departments that would potentially move into economic development's building have more than that.

"We also want to make sure that any department that comes into this building is in alignment with the other departments,” Herrera said.

If nothing lines up, economic development would have to account for a new lease.

"There's ways within our budget, as a department, we can be more cost-efficient, and we could facilitate expending some of the cost we currently use for other areas to be able to facilitate toward a lease,” Herrera said.

Herrera says economic development hopes to have a lease for city council to review early next month. If the move doesn't make sense financially, she says they won't do it.

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