In related action, at least 50 employees in the utility customer service and finance department, which includes purchasing, payroll, treasury, accounting staff and human resources, will be moved from the administration building at 100 E First St. to rented downtown space.
Council members also voted to spend nearly $20,000 a month to rent work space for those employees.
The first monthly lease payment with Spearman Investments for offices at 7 N Broadway will include $360,000 for tenant improvements. The lease is for five years, ending in December 2017.
The lease property, called the Hargrove Building, will provide 13,000 square feet of office space that has readily accessible public parking, storefront-type visibility and convenient access for utility customer service and a convenient location to the city's downtown campus, Commons said.