Bond tapped for City Hall fix

City Council voted 6-1 to use the money to upgrade old wiring.

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WALLA WALLA — City Hall will get a $66,000 electrical upgrade paid for with police station bonds funds.

After hearing an explanation from City Manager Nabiel Shawa on the scope of work, Council members voted 6-1 Wednesday night to dip into funds that voters approved in 2009 to build a new police station on the north side of the city. The bond was for $11.6 million.

Council member Chris Plucker was the lone vote against using the money for City Hall repairs.

“We are not rewiring City Hall, and there are no new electrical outlets,” Shawa told the Council. He added that if City Hall were inspected, the electrical systems would not pass and some wiring would require immediate fixing.

Shawa then explained how in 2011 he and other city officials met with the Community for the Walla Walla Police Station Committee to create a list of City Hall projects that met the committee’s approval for police bond funding.

At the top of the list was an assessment of environmental hazards and remediation, followed by electrical inspections and repairs, removal of all furniture and fixtures and, lastly, repainting and new flooring in the old basement headquarters for police.

So far, the city has spent $18,000 on asbestos removal in the basement.

Shawa also noted bond money to remove fixtures and furniture will not be needed, which leaves the painting, flooring and electrical work for approved fund use.

“The citizens trusted us and supported us, and (the) last thing we want to do is mislead the voters,” Shawa said.

Plucker, however, said he was still against using bond funds because of perceptions and the possibility of future backlashes when it comes time to ask voters to pass another bond.

“I do question how people will see this,” Plucker said. “And going forward as a Council and looking at projects we have down the road, are we shooting ourselves in the foot down the road?”

Alfred Diaz can be reached at alfreddiaz@wwub.com or 526-8325.

Comments

Bigdog 1 year, 6 months ago

What the city manager wants the city manager gets...it seems....be it octopus, his own outrageous salary raise, or any other tax payer funds! Incredible!

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VinoTinto 1 year, 6 months ago

Upgrading City Hall's electrical is not a waste of money. Old buildings always need infrastructure upgrades, and it's good to do it when the money is there. It would be awful to lose the structure, or a life, to an electrical fire which can be prevented.

City Hall is a treasure worthy of preservation, and 66k doesn't seem outrageous for the scope of work.

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barracuda 1 year, 6 months ago

VinoTinto... I agree with your statements... Great building etc. $66k is not a lot of money in the big picture, We voted to fund a project, and any left overs would go along ways towards getting us behind the next best idea to come down the way..... The school board found out the hard way that this was a bad idea... I believe it cost them a lot of votes in Wa-Hi's bond issue. This is a bad idea...

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VinoTinto 1 year, 6 months ago

I stand corrected. I have two historic homes so I found the electrical upgrade terribly exciting.

Public opinion is very important in getting bonds passed.

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aurora 1 year, 6 months ago

The Walla Walla City Council could have gained so much credibility with the public by paying the bond down. Unfortunately, the City Manager and the City Council are not exercising much vision for the future of Walla Walla or they would NOT jeopardize future bond proposals with this decision. This is a very short-sighted move on their part.

I'm certain the utilization of 'leftover' school bond funds for projects other than those identified in the bond proposal is a major reason the school district is having a difficult passing new bond proposals.

Overall, in my opinion, this decision is NOT in the best interest of Walla Walla.

Capital improvements are a budgetary item that the City has apparently ignored and/or neglected for some time.

NOT a good move by the City Council.

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