Scott City Council looks at condemning Masonic Lodge

Tuesday, February 19, 2008

For the second time in less than a year, Scott City Council is considering condemning the old Masonic Lodge.

The board had unanimously delayed a public hearing on the matter last May. Since that time, the building, at 502 Second St. East, was auctioned off. The council will discuss the issue at its meeting tonight.

Reba and Larry Abbott bought it. Both expressed surprise Monday evening upon learning about the agenda item.

"The city manager told me as long as we fixed the roof and got underway doing repairs that would there wouldn't be a condemnation," Reba Abbott said. She said the building's roof was caved in when she bought it last year.

The Abbotts have nearly a dozen properties in Scott City, mostly rental homes, she said.

"That's what we do, we buy properties and refurbish them," she said. "We were thinking of restoring it to the original Masonic Temple. It has a lot of character."

She said once the building is restored it would probably be rented for commercial use.

"The bad thing is, it has a common wall to the funeral home and they've had some issues," said Mayor Tim Porch. "The Abbotts might have the best of intentions. They may have a plan for that building. The last meeting, we voted to send notice, and that should get some talk going."

"We're not saying it can't be redone, but it's got a lot of issues," Porch said.

A public hearing could take place in two to four weeks, he said.

The city council will also update an ordinance for firing employees. Porch said a review of city codes showed the current ordinance says fired workers can follow an appeal process, which is incorrect.

"The only ones within the city with an appeal process is the police force. They have a police board and go through the city," he said. "We're an at-will city. I think the city administrator has, in his contract, an appeal process."

He said the error was discovered as the city was updating the code defining how employees accrue vacation time.

Because Scott City is a third-class city, it does not have a charter. Instead, a collection of ordinances define the city government and structure.

Scott City Council meets at 7 p.m. today at city hall, 215 Chester St.

335-6611, extension 127

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