Architect pulls out from new city hall negotiations (copy) (copy)

The Bisbee mayor and council voted Tuesday to request proposals to determine the cost to demolish the old Bisbee City Hall, which was gutted in a devastating fire on Oct. 11, 2017. The 5-2 vote only allows the city to determine the cost, not take any action on the structure.

BISBEE — The Bisbee City Council decided Tuesday night to seek proposals for the cost of demolishing and removing the burned-out shell of city hall, taking the next step in the long process to determine the building’s fate.

The measure ended in a tie at the last meeting, which meant its defeat. Mayor David Smith brought it back for the council again at Tuesday’s meeting.

Public Works director Jesus Haro explained the request for proposals was just to obtain a cost for the demolition. The council would still have to vote on accepting any proposal.

Councilwomen Anna Cline and Joni Giacomino were the “no” votes and said they wanted to keep the damaged façade, reinforce it and build the new city hall within the old walls.

Haro, drawing on his experience as an engineer, told them the fire damaged the concrete walls and they would not pass inspection. He also pointed out the walls had no metal rebar in them, and what metal there was in the wall was scattered. There could be problems with the building collapsing due to high winds.

An earlier engineering report stated the walls had been damaged by the heat of the fire and should not be used.

“It would be extremely expensive to preserve those walls,” he told them. “The metal is not spaced correctly.”

Councilman Louis Pawlick stated, “I don’t want to use taxpayer dollars to save the walls,” but suggested looking for grants to pay for such a project.

Councilwoman Anna Cline agreed grants could be an option. Residents who contacted her said they wanted the walls saved.

Smith noted the demolition would cost less than previous estimates as the police department would be able to use some of the materials at the shooting range.

Councilman Bill Higgins said, “Let’s just find out the cost. I think we need to know that. We’re not deciding to tear it down.”

Councilwomen Joan Hansen and Leslie Johns, along with Higgins, Pawlick and Smith, voted in favor of the request for proposals to demolish the building.

Also at Tuesday’s meeting, a notice of intent to adopt amendments to the city’s nuisance ordinance received some public praise and some backlash, but ended in a 5-2 approval with Cline and Giacomino in opposition.

Two residents who live on Opera Dr. above Brewery Gulch complained about the noise from loudspeakers being used outdoors by some of the entertainment establishments and people in general who listen to satellite radio throughout the day, every day.

They suggested some changes be considered for controlling noise in the Entertainment District which encompasses Brewery Gulch, Main St. and part of Tombstone Canyon.

Jon Sky questioned who makes the determinations for the noise levels and what a public nuisance is.

Smith told him the judge makes the decisions and imposes the fines as set by the ordinance.

The amendments include a change in the fine schedule. The first offense is $250, the second $500, the third and all others $2,500.

Johns asked about neighbors who continually call in complaints to the police department and how officers handle such situations.

Police Chief Albert Echave explained, “We try to investigate each complaint. If the officer thinks it’s necessary, they will issue a citation. But, we try to resolve it first.”

Giacomino asked why the jump in fines and City Manager Theresa Coleman said it was a “deterrent.”

Pawlick objected to the first and second fine amounts, but felt the third was appropriate.

Coleman and the city attorney James Ledbetter will work on some ground rules for the entertainment district.

The mayor and council also decided to send a request by Todd Conklin to abandon an 846-square foot easement on Youngblood Hill to the Planning and Zoning Commission to get their opinion. Conklin is renovating an old home and needs access and parking. The easement provides a drainage ditch, though Coleman said the city does not maintain the property.

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