Scott City's leaders vote to buy building on Chester Street to house city offices

Tuesday, July 3, 2007

The Scott City government's administrative offices may have a new home by the end of the summer.

At Monday night's regular city council meeting the council voted 8 to 0 to authorize city administrator Ron Eskew to enter into a contract for the purchase of an unoccupied Jehovah's Witnesses hall at 215 Chester St., a block off of Main Street.

The purchase price authorized by the council was $159,000 -- a price Mayor Tim Porch and Eskew call a steal for the 3,600 square-foot building. A similar building would cost $350,000 to $400,000 to build, said Porch, who owns a contracting business in Scott City.

The closing date on the sale is Aug. 30, Eskew said.

City leaders have been in negotiations with the building owners, the Cape Girardeau South Congregation of Jehovah's Witnesses, for several months, Eskew said.

The city will install walls for offices and a drive-through window for bill paying, which will probably cost about $10,000 to $12,000, Porch said.

Part of the new space will be a city council chamber that will seat 125 people and a parking lot with space for 35 vehicles, up from the current 15.

The police station and fire station will remain in the current city hall, as will the municipal court. Those offices will expand into the space vacated by the city administrative offices.

The purchase will be paid for partially through capital improvement funds available from a quarter-cent sales tax extended by voters in 2005. General revenue will provide the rest of the purchase price, and Porch said how those funds will be split to cover the $159,000 cost hasn't been determined yet.

City offices have been located in the current city hall for almost 20 years, Porch said. The building served as a furniture store before that. Porch and Eskew said renovations were needed on the current city hall and buying a new building was a better solution than renovation in the cramped current facility.

Littering problem

Porch advised the police department to issue tickets for littering to teenagers using the caboose parking lot as a gathering spot after problems with littering have been identified there recently.

"We're going to catch a couple of them littering, and they're going to pay the price," Porch said.

Porch said he'd rather take steps to stop the littering than prevent teenagers from using the lot, a move that was taken in the past to address the same problem.

In other action:

* The city council voted 8 to 0 to authorize the annexation of property owned by Mark McClellan at 1725 Hilleman Drive.

* The council voted 8 to 0 to set a public hearing to annex property owned by Bill McMillan just outside the city's eastern limits.

* The council voted 8 to 0 to accept a bid of $44,597.40 from Asa Asphalt of Advance, Mo., for street paving.

* The council voted 8 to 0 to begin condemnation proceedings on property at 212 Charles St.

* The council voted 8 to 0 to authorize police chief Don Cobb to hire a reserve dispatcher.

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