When City Hall sold in early 2019, a proposed new City Hall was to be built east of the Police Department. However, when bids came in over the proposed budget at $1.68 million, the Aldermen rejected all bids. 

The Aldermen adopted a resolution to set up a non-for-profit corporation known as Ashland Municipal Center, Inc., to be eligible for USDA financing at the Tuesday, November 19, Aldermen meeting. 

“When we looked at USDA financing we thought it was attractive for two reasons: a competitive rate and it would go out for at least 30 years. With limited resources we are looking at a lengthy loan at 30 years,” said City Administrator Tony St. Romaine. 

Municipalities do not qualify for a normal loan, because government entities are not businesses. 

“USDA does not lend funds directly to a municipality. What they do is any funds that are distributed have to go through a nonprofit, this is a normal process,” said St. Romaine. 

The Ashland Municipal Center, Inc., board of directors will consist of the board of aldermen and act as a bridge between the City of Ashland and the USDA. 

“The nonprofit will be used as a pass-through entity for payments,” said St. Romaine. 

The bidding process for City Hall will have to be restarted with the possibility of a land donation, moving the proposed location of the building. The city is waiting for a letter of intent. 

However, the approximately $70,000 in engineering fees will not be wasted, but revised. 

“You can use drawings anywhere you want but the ground level stuff might change. The building plans won’t,” said Mayor Gene Rhorer. 

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by Carson Blake