Members of the Ashland City Council, meeting as the Committee of the Whole Tuesday night, once again voted by an 8-2 margin to direct city staff pursue financing of a proposed police station.

The vote means that the council will take the matter up at their next regular session on Aug. 27 for a possible final vote.

The committee of the whole had already approved the financing method at their previous meeting in July. However, there were concerns that the July agenda indicated that the financing issue was only up for discussion, not that any action referring it to the full council was under consideration.  Council President Kate Ullman said in order to insure clarity, the matter was brought back up to the committee for a revote.

The financing under consideration would use general obligation promissory notes with a 10-year term and a balloon payment and an additional 10-year term, making a total 20-year borrowing to repay the $4.5 million principal amount. The first 10 years of borrowing would cost $814,077 in interest.

Council members were told that using a market note to fund the project would result in interest savings of about $196,000 over a bank note of the same amount.

Either method would raise the city’s debt levy by about $210,000 over the $1.17 annual debt levy limit that an earlier city council imposed on debt spending at the time of the financing of the new fire station. The financing would mean an increase in taxes of about $50 per $100,000 of valuation.

Council member David Ortman continued his opposition to plans to fund the station, arguing that the city should submit the matter to a referendum, something that would not take place under the current proposal. He was joined by council member Wahsayah Whitebird in voting against the proposal. Voting in favor were Ullman, Ana Tochterman, Kevin Haas, Elizabeth Franek, Dick Pufall, Jackie Moore, and Matt MacKenzie.

(Copyright © 2019 APG Media)

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