Workers get the new City of Urbana Business Offices ready Tuesday for the department to move in this weekend. The office, which handles finance, income tax, utility billing and human resources, is moving out of the Urbana City Building to the former 5/3 Bank branch located next door. The new offices will be open next Tuesday. BILL LACKEY/STAFF

Urbana to move its finance, human resources departments

Urbana will be moving its finance and human resources departments out of the municipal building on Friday as city officials hope to improve customer service for residents.

Those departments will be moved next door after the city bought a building earlier this year that once housed offices for Fifth Third Bank. Urbana’s Director of Finance Chris Boettcher said the property, which was purchased for $380,000 in February, is the city’s new business office.

The move is expected to be completed next week.

The city will begin accepting payments for utility bills there Tuesday as well as applications for city jobs. The new location features a drive-thru lane for residents so they can submit payments without leaving their cars. It also has a deposit box so payments can be made after business hours.

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Boettcher said the new property allows the city to increase security measures for city offices that handle direct payments.

“Our current windows are not bullet resistant by any means. By moving next door we have utilized some of that technology in the new office space,” she said.

Utility billing and related services make up a bulk of the city’s customer services, said Urbana’s Director of Administration Kerry Brugger. He said it was important for them to make those services more readily accessible to Urbana’s residents.

Brugger said the decision to move certain departments out of the municipal building at 205 S. Main St. came last fall when the city found out that Fifth Third was moving out of its Urbana location at 225 S. Main St.

After some discussion, Brugger said city officials felt it would make the most sense to move the city’s finance and human resources department, which sees a high volume of people, out of the municipal building, which was built in the early 1950s.

“We still have a lot of the structural issues in terms of a lot of stairs, offices that aren’t really set up well for today’s work environment and interaction with customers,” he said. “It became apparent that we could use that (additional) space for some kind of city operation.”

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The building bought by the city required some renovations in order to turn it into city offices, Boettcher said. She said those renovations costs the city a little under $50,000 and came out of the capital improvement fund.

The offices that will be moved into the new building are currently located on the ground floor of the municipal building. They will be closed on Friday for the move and Monday for Labor Day. They will reopen at the new location on Tuesday, said Boettcher.

Brugger said there are plans in the near future to move the city’s zoning and engineering offices, currently on the second floor of the municipal building, to the ground floor.

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