Bond tapped for Walla Walla city hall fix

June 13, 2013 

— City hall will get a $66,000 electrical upgrade paid for with police station bonds funds.

After hearing an explanation from City Manager Nabiel Shawa about scope of work, council members voted 6-1 Wednesday night to dip into funds that voters approved in 2009 to build a new police station on the north side of the city. The bond was for $11.6 million.

Council member Chris Plucker was the lone vote against using the money for city hall repairs.

“We are not rewiring city hall, and there are no new electrical outlets,” Shawa told the council. He added that if city hall were inspected, the electrical systems would not pass and some wiring would require immediate fixing.

Shawa then explained how in 2011 he and other city officials met with the community for the Walla Walla Police Station Committee to create a list of city hall projects that met the committee’s approval for police bond funding.

At the top of the list was an assessment of environmental hazards and remediation, followed by electrical inspections and repairs, removal of all furniture and fixtures and, lastly, repainting and new flooring in the old basement headquarters for police.

So far, the city has spent $18,000 on asbestos removal in the basement.

Shawa also noted bond money to remove fixtures and furniture will not be needed, which leaves the painting, flooring and electrical work for approved fund use.

“The citizens trusted us and supported us, and (the) last thing we want to do is mislead the voters,” Shawa said.

Plucker, however, said he was still against using bond funds because of perceptions and the possibility of future backlashes when it comes time to ask voters to pass another bond.

“I do question how people will see this,” Plucker said. “And going forward as a Council and looking at projects we have down the road, are we shooting ourselves in the foot down the road?”

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