Armory purchase approved by city council

Published 12:00 am Saturday, June 3, 2006

When it came to the armory building, the city’s problem wasn’t how to fund the purchase … it was who would do the purchasing.

Mike Haas, a member of the Ironton Port Authority, announced that the group had secured the $100,000 in funds needed to purchase the former National Guard armory property at Ninth and Vernon streets. Haas said that the funds had been delivered to the city.

The IPA has requested that the city purchase the property (with money obtained by the port authority), and donate the land back to the group.

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The council later made the motion to adopt the ordinance to purchase the armory property and donate it to the group to use for economic development.

The one hiccup left in the armory plan was that since the city is without a finance director, there is no one who is authorized to approve the budget amendment that allows for the purchase.

Council chairman Chuck O’Leary put forth the possibility that the city could name an interim finance director for a 24 to 48-hour period who could authorize the budget.

“That would be problem resolved,” O’Leary said. “They gave us the money, now we should give them the building.”

Although city employee Carol Moore has been handling signatory duties for the city, she has said that she doesn’t want the responsibility of signing a budget she didn’t prepare.

City solicitor Mack Anderson was named the interim finance director for the duration of time it took for the budget to be certified.

Later, councilman Leo Johnson made a last ditch effort to pass a $6 municipal fee that would have replaced the current $8 fee. Besides saving the citizens money, Johnson said that he hoped the move would make voters more sympathetic to the school bond levy.

“I do this for two purposes, I think people would accept this better, and I think this would help something pass that the city desperately needs to pass,” Johnson said.

The motion failed with only Johnson and councilman Richard Price voting in favor of the ordinance.

Finally, councilman Rich Blankenship announced that after some research, he believed that the city could be refunded $7,000 in tax credits for purchasing diesel fuel. The credits, which covered the span of three years, had not been received due to an error in the finance department.

During the public comment portion of the meeting, Rick McKnight wasn’t acting as a representative of the Friends of Ironton, but as a concerned citizen.

McKnight said he had issue with some of the bickering that had taken place on the council over the recent disciplining of finance director Cindy Anderson who resigned soon after.

“I thought carefully before I decided on who I would vote for and I voted for you guys because I thought you guys would work as a team,” McKnight said. “If you can’t sit up here and agree on everything, don’t knock your fellow councilman in the paper. We’re a team.”