Ashland town hall brings questions and some answers to bond discussion

ASHLAND, Ore.– Questions abound for a $10.65 million bond that the Ashland City Council is considering. In the hopes of answering some of those questions, the city held a town hall meeting Wednesday night where dozens of residents came out to share their thoughts.

In part, the bond would cover Ashland City Hall’s reconstruction that’s estimated at $7 million. The rest of the bond would cover projects such as rehabilitation for Pioneer Hall and the community center, solar panels at the Service Center which includes the Emergency Operations Center, center of operations for Public Works and the Energy Department, and fixing Butler-Perozzi fountain in Lithia Park.

The city outlined it’s most cost-effective plan during the meeting – that’s rebuilding city hall to be earthquake safe. However, many residents at the meeting still felt they needed more answers to the questions being asked.

Many NBC5 News spoke with felt requesting an opinion from a second architect or contractor about the city hall seismic analysis would be beneficial to come to a final decision.

“Well I mean I would be concerned that the voters will not approve it if there is not a second opinion,” said Peter Finkle, a resident.

The city notified residents that the cost would be 26 cents per $1,000 if the bond was approved over a 20-year period. That means if a home’s assessed value was $400,000, it would be an annual cost of $105.

“I think the primary concern I have is prioritizing where we’re gonna spend our money,” said resident Bill Gates. “There’s a lot of different issues out there and is this number one or number three?”

City Administrator Kelly Madding says two bonds will be dropping off around the time this new bond would be issued if approved. Both a county library bond and Ashland City Fire Station bond will end giving space for the new bond and keep costs potentially lower to residents.

The council is set to make a decision on the bond measure in February in order to put it on the May ballot. The city says it will upload answers to all questions asked during the town hall meeting to its website within the week to help provide further insight into the bond.

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