Woodland council approves purchase of downtown building

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The Woodland City Council has approved the purchase of a building next door to city hall in order to bring its public works operation closer to the rest of its municipal functions.

During its Nov. 1 meeting, the council unanimously approved the purchase of a property at 326 Davidson Ave. for $420,000. According to council documents, the property, which is adjacent to the current city hall, will be used to expand the hall, specifically to house the city’s public works department.

Acknowledging that any instance of spending money may draw concern, councilor Dave Plaza said with the city’s growth, and the subsequent necessity to increase staff to support that growth, the purchase is a smart decision.

“Considering the size that city hall is right now, it’s just not going to cut (it) having more employees in there,” Plaza said.

Councilor Carol Rounds liked that the property was located in Woodland’s downtown area.

“The location that it’s at, it’s going to be a lot less expensive to bring (city staff) together,” Rounds said.

Though he agreed with the sentiments from Plaza and Rounds, councilor Benjamin Fredricks said he has a fiduciary responsibility to question the payment method for the purchase. 



He said there was a lack of clarity on the method, pointing to a single sentence — “Public works funds would be used to retire the debt” — in council documents describing it.

“I have no details as to specifically how this transaction is going to be paid for and I need to have that understanding,” Fredricks said.

Woodland City Administrator Peter Boyce said the building would be paid for mostly through utility funds the city collects. He said financing for the purchase would be handled in a similar way to how the city funded the Clark-Cowlitz Fire and Rescue station. He said the council will be able to weigh in on interest rates through the process.

The sale agreement allows for a two-year lease on a portion of the building to its current owner, listed as Gratus Properties LLC in council documents. That lease would generate $20,000 for the city.



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