Amherst News-Times, 1998-07-29
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ike interchange delayed — Page 5 TBall game marks AHS's 25th — Page 6 Amherst News-Times July 29, 1998 Amhorst Ohio r>() < cot' to borrow $4.1 million to pay for repairs MILLER News-Times reporter The city has decided to borrow about $4.1 million to finance a variety of capital improvement projects, including the repair of city hall and construction of a new water tower. An ordinance authorizing the loan was approved by city council's finance committee June 20 and was expected to be okayed by the entire council June 27, its final meeting prior to a month-long break. Another ordinance hired Butler Wick and Co., Inc., a Medina bond underwriting firm that will oversee the financing of the projects. Part of the firm's responsibilities will be to hire a legal firm to act as bond counsel. In doing so, the city avoids any legal difficulties associated with a lawsuit filed against council, the mayor and other administrators by law director Alan Anderson. The suit, which has been appe aled to a state appellate court, challenges council's right to overstep Anderson's authority in the selection of a bond counsel. Council cannot sell the repair bonds until the court issue's its ruling. Mayor John Higgins said the ordinance in question only prohibits council from hiring a bond council to sell about $400,000 in bonds to repair the city hall roof and bell tower. It wanted to hire the Cleveland law firm of Squires, Sanders and Dempsey. Anderson chose another firm. In this case, Butler Hicks will do the hiring, not council, he explained. Several months ago, council chose to finance the repairs by using $450,000 it transferred out of a firefighters' disability fund. The mayor said those funds will remain unused and draw interest, but can be used as a "backup." If council wishes, the money can also be used to help pay off some of the loan, he added. In addition to the city hall work, the projects are: • $300,000 for improvements to the city's water treatment plant. The most urgent work includes several improvements to the plant's electrical system, including the purchase of a new generator. • $1.4 million for improvements to the city's electrical system, including the upgrade of an old substation located near the Nordson Corporation. The improvements involve the installation of new generators and other equipment, much of which is old and could fail, accord ing to utilities director Donald Woodings. • $1 million for the construction of a 500,000 gallon water tower to be located off Middle Ridge Road near S. Lake Street. The tower should alleviate water pressure problems oh the west side of the city caused by differences in elevation. The city had planned to build a 1 million gallon tower until CONTINUED on page 3 Cruisin' couple face nightmare aboard ship Vacation ruined when their paradise catches on fire by GLEN MILLER News-Times reporter What started out as a cruise to the sunny Caribbean turned into a cruise of terror, frustration and anger for Donald and Kelly Sibla of Amherst, and their eight-year- old son Eric. The Siblas were among the dozens of passengers aboard the Carnival Cruise Line ship that caught fire shortly after leaving Miami July 20. They escaped with their lives but not their belongings. Those were destroyed by the fire that swept through their state room located a short distance from the ship's aft, the origin of the nearly deadly blaze. The Siblas, of 815 West Martin St, decided to take the cruise last March because it may be their last long vacation in several years. They may not be able to afford another while paying for two college educations. Their oldest daughter, Kendra, 22, who is in college, is about to be joined by their other daughter, Geni, 18. The two women didn't join their parents and Eric. It was to be his first cruise and his parent's third. They took their first cruise as honeymooners 11 years and their second with their daughters a few years ago. "So we were really looking forward to this. We hadn't been anywhere for four years and now this mess," Kelly Sibla said. They had a better "middle- priced" stateroom on previous cruises. This time, they had booked a cabin on the lowest most inexpensive rrTI** deck to save moneytbT— souvenirs and other things. It was nice but had no portholes. About 40 minutes after boarding, she said the family CONTINUED on page 2 Donald and Kelly Sibla enjoy dinner during a previous cruise. Their recent experience on a cruise ship wasni so pleasant; the two were forced to evacuate when the ship caught on fire. City agrees to lease purchase agreement on San Springs site by GLEN MILLER News-Times reporter j The city has agreed to buy the San Springs Building on Park Avenue for $272,000 under a lease/ purchase agreement that will provide it with much-needed office space. The agreement was approved by city council's finance committee Jury 20 and was expected to be approved by the entire council June It was no surprise. Mayor John Higgins said he had been negotiating for the lease or sale of the sandstone building at Park Avenue and Forest Street for several months. ! Under a deal worked out with the owners, a group of doctors, the city has agreed to lease the structure for four months before officially purchasing iL The total price, lease plus purchase, is $272,000, an amount the mayor and council members agreed is a bargain. "We need more apace, space that's newer than this (city hall) and doesn't need a lot of repairs,'' added councilman Sieve P'Simer. The price is right I can't see passing it »p." It is likely to become a temporary city administrative structure once work begins on the exterior of the historic city hall at N. Main and Milan Avenue. No date has been set lor the repairs, although they involve replacement of the roof and work on the bell tower. It will cost an estimated $400,000. \ After that, the building will house e of the offices now crowded the lint floor of city ealL in cluding the mayor and safety service director's, treasurer's and auditor's offices in addition to the building department. Other city offices also may be located there. City hall offices now lack space and confidentiality for meetings. Currently, the city council chambers, which also houses the council clerk's office, is the only space where conferences can be held. Otherwise, "there is nowhere where you can sit down and layout a set of drawings," councilman John Dietrich said. "We're behind the times just a little bit," Additional space also is need for filing cabinets, some of which are now being stored in city hall's only hallway. No other space is available. The city hall basement, formerly the police department, is unusable as is the second floor, once a community auditorium. The physicians originally sought $300,000 for the building, an offer Higgins rejected. They then proposed the leaseypurchase agreement. Higgins said he hopes to begin moving some offices into the building by Sept IS. The funds will come out of money set aside for the utilities department. The city will sublease the building from the utilities department for an amount to be determined by council. The city also owns, the pott office building on Park Avenue. It currently if leased by a church but could\be converted to ad- diifinaal office snaeff should council vMbW^P^"'"** ^a»a>aaa^ar aaaaaaBBv^F a^v^v^a^^av ar^»amwa^a,»» decide not to renew the lease when It's magic Area magician Jamee Kleefeld gait tome at- Amherst Pubhc library. Hta annual vtott to the & taMaiVMfromavounomanckirlnoaakowaltht rjrarytr*ye«rh«daeaferintogfctti«T» Voters to decide on full-time mayor job by GLEN MILLER News-Times reporter Amherst voters probably will be asked to decide in November whether they want mayor John Higgins — and his successors — to work for them full-time rather than part-time. City council was expected to give its stamp of approval Monday to an executive committee recommendation for a full-time city mayor. The move will allow the city to place the proposal on the ballot by Aug. 22, the filing deadline for the Nov. 3 general election. The recommendation was unanimously approved by the committee following the presentation of a report by David Williams, chairman of a four-member citizens' committee. The group, which also includes councilman David Kukucka and re- sidenu William Harlan and Barbara Lnetncn, was appoottca in Marcn oy council president Wayne While to determine the need far a full-time mayor. William, likened the mayor's job to that of the CEO of a rnajor company which, like A.fftrVPTtL hat grown over rhe last 10 to 15 yean. "We wan top4evet iiaajrairai ana costencatve aunnjonMat, ae ^"W«,Mke ilmHsJIi i.«oat and coanfeeary wisheat any ea> tuses. Yon Jatt cent do *nt aaav time." The panel's leaaarea involved to-
|Title||Amherst News-Times, 1998-07-29|
|Date of Original||29-JUL-1998|
|Submitting Institution||Ohio Historical Society|
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