The special meeting of the city council to address the initiative petition filed by local businessman Bob Templin included much discussion with presentations of information by city attorney Jerry Mason and city administrator Eric Keck on the options available to the Mayor and Council.
Bottom line, the initiative petition was rejected by a unanimous council for adoption so it will go to the voters on the November 6 ballot.
Unfortunately the initiative language as submitted does not stipulate an end date for what is in reality an unfunded mandate should it pass. So the citizens/taxpayers would be responsible to "preserve and maintain "old city hall" and make it available for the benefit and use of the public" for perpetuity.
What will also be decided on November 6 is how we, the taxpayers, will fund not only the ongoing expense of the "old city hall" but the additional expense to alter the plans for a new city hall that is months into construction. The estimated additional $1.3 million will come from two possible scenarios...cutting a recently adopted 2007/2008 budget in the form of staff and services or through foregone taxes and a one-year levy.
A market-value home in Post Falls with a homeowners exemption would pay an additional $111 per year in taxes. A $500,000 home with the homeowners exemption would be taxed an additional $270 per year.
*Note: A City Center Master Plan Steering Committee comprised of over two dozen citizens and city officials met for a year between July 2005 and July 2006 to consider the best alternatives and vision of the city hall campus that is now in progress. Their recommendation one year and two months ago was to demolish the "old city hall" as soon as the new building was completed. Bob Templin served on that committee.