At the September 3 City Council meeting, it was first clarified that the city council did not previously approve earlier morning construction hours and that police officers are enforcing current noise ordinances. The topics for discussion at the meeting were tax incentives, parks improvements and a recommendation to abandon current plans for a new city hall.
City Administrator Tony St. Romaine made a recommendation to the city council that current plans to build a new city hall by the police station should be reconsidered. Not only did bids come in much higher than the budgeted $1.2 million, but the new construction would not accommodate future expansion needs, nor would it presently offer sufficient parking for public meetings. Mr. St. Romaine suggested the city reject all bids and negotiate for a new site. He also stated that while he cannot go into specifics, there is the possibility of a site being donated. Ashland currently rents its old City Hall location. The lease will run through May 2020 at a reduced rate, however, Mr. St. Romaine stated that extending the lease was a “flat out no” due to the new owner’s price demands. Mayor Gene Rhorer agreed with the recommendation, as “we’re stuck, and it’s not smart to proceed on this path.” Alderman Jeff Sapp also expressed his support for rejecting the current plans as “the current site is a futile road if it doesn’t allow growth for the next 20 to 30 years.” In an informal straw vote, council members agreed with the recommendation and will put this topic on a future agenda.
~ Get more in today’s Journal ~
By Ernie Wren
Photo: The City of Ashland’s sidewalk project nearing completion.