Councilors: Table the City Hall Bond Because…

Dear Councilors,

I writing to ask you to table Mayor Stormberg’s bond issue proposal at Tuesday’s meeting.

Comments at the January 22 Town Hall meeting and the responses to the survey included in your package have made the case against going forward at this time.  Serious issues were raised about each of the proposals which would be funded by this proposed bond issue.  These include:

— The state geology office report that City Hall is on bed rock and is in the lowest risk earthquake category reduces substantially the need for a $7.4 million replacement of the historic building.

— The $220,000 in the current city budget earmarked for improvements to the Community Center and Pioneer Hall means the city could move forward immediately with needed repairs.

–The $375,000 allocated in the bond proposal to restore the Lithia Park fountain were not requested by the Parks Commission and are insufficient to complete the project.

–The $2.1 million solar panel project expense would not be recovered during the lifetime of the panels.

Finally, the cost cutting ad hoc committee is continuing to look at ways to reduce city spending which could free up funds for completing the work on the Community Center and Pioneer Hall, which many of those responding to the survey believe should be given top priority.

Shouldn’t regular budgeting procedures be followed rather than rushing forward a bond issue put together behind closed doors without any input by citizen members of the Budget Committee? 

With appreciation for all the time and effort you all put into service to our community,

David Runkel, Ashland Citizen Budget Committee Member and Former Chair