Resort facilities

Banning Begins Facility Assessment Process | New

Banning has a maintenance worker for every building in the city, City Manager Doug Schulze revealed at a special city council meeting Sept. 13.

“For decades the city has been putting off maintenance, and today we’re the ones going to pay for it. That’s just what we’re dealing with. It’s really too big of a hurdle for the staff. can take care of it.

It would be unfair for a maintenance person to be responsible for determining all the needs of each building owned by the city, in addition to his usual duties.

There are many facilities to consider, Schulze pointed out at a special workshop that provided the city council with insight into the need for a comprehensive study of the city’s facility needs. The police department, for example, has “design flaws” that need to be fixed; the Boy Scout hut at Repplier Park would be dangerous and should be demolished; nearby, the Girl Scout building “is extremely old” and in need of help, despite having recently received an upgrade to its HVAC systems; the city’s senior center “will soon be undersized” for a city whose population will nearly double in the next two decades; and the recreation center “falls well below standard” to adequately serve the community.

“We need a recreation center with ‘more’ multi-purpose space, including the ability to accommodate large municipal meetings and events,” Schulze said.

At the city’s Fleet and Transit Center, inventory sits out in the open like it’s stored in a warehouse, frustrating auditors who feel the inventory isn’t secure.

Regarding the town hall and around the police station, Schulze showed images of closets, changing rooms and shower stalls that also serve as storage space, and showed part of the town hall that will be reconfigured to add a few more cubicles, claiming that City Hall has “a lot of wasted space.”

The company yard and public works facilities need new roofs or buildings, and the Banning Electric Utility has “the greatest need for replacement and increased space.”

“At City Hall, we used every corner we could find to create office spaces and place cubicles,” Schulze said.

A picture of the employee break room, with its small round table just big enough to accommodate three chairs, is insufficient for a staff of at least 50 employees, many of whom resort to having lunch at their desks.

“We need to gather data that we can use to make informed decisions,” and hire a consultant who can offer unbiased insight into the city’s physical settlement needs. Relying on current staff to conduct such a study would be time-consuming, Schultz added.

“The quality of our facilities sets the tone for the working environment and the staff,” Schulze said. “When we hold meetings and show the public our facilities” and recruit potential new employees “it sets the tone.”

Councilor David Happe said: “We need to come up with an overall plan on how to deal with all of these things and have a vision for the future: you talk about work environment, safety, perception — all sorts of things come into at stake. There are so many factors at play.”

He then asked Schulze how the city had handled maintenance issues so far.

Schulze said the activities and projects were done “in-house” and through the use of contractors.

Councilman Rick Minjares supported a Request for Qualifications (RFQ) so the city could select a consultant.

Such a report would help the city “describe what you need, what you don’t need, and you’ll be able to prioritize” capital improvement projects. “There are so many required items that are extremely deficient in banning,” and focused for a moment on the city currently failing to meet stormwater mandates.

Mayor Pro Tem Alberto Sanchez pointed out that “if you defer maintenance, it will cost you 30% more in product costs” when it comes time to meet the city’s needs.

“If we don’t fix what’s already broken, we’ll get to a point where we have to replace it entirely, which costs a lot more,” Sanchez said.

The council unanimously approved the city’s request to call for a quote for a comprehensive facility needs study.

Editor David James Heiss can be contacted at