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Home arrow News arrow Local News arrow Elgin City Council agrees to pay for equipment, with stipulations

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Elgin City Council agrees to pay for equipment, with stipulations

The Elgin City Council voted Monday to pay for the equipment purchased for the Elgin Opera House air conditioning unit to buy the city council and the opera house board some time to work out finances.

"We do support the opera house, but we need to worry about the taxpayers," said Councilman Allan Duffy during Monday's special session.

Jay Myra, of High Mountain Mechanical, purchased the equipment, approximately $7,800, to install an air conditioning unit for the Elgin Opera House before the project was put on hold. Myra, who agreed to do several thousand dollars worth of in-kind work, is ready to do the installation but with some questions about how much money is left over from the restoration project grant funds, the project was put on hold at July's city council meeting so an in-depth audit could be performed on the city's financial records.

Kate Bottger, president of the Friends of the Opera House committee, represented the group Monday and asked the city council to find a way to help fund the opera house and finish the last project.

Bottger said some unanticipated bills came due that were from projects previous to many of the current committee people.

City Administrator Laird Allen said the bills and other expenses involved with the opera house could potentially put the budget over $5,700.

The audit, which was set to begin this week, will tell the city council and the opera house exactly what's left.

Mayor Brent Linville said High Mountain Mechanical is a local company that agreed to do in-kind work for the project and the city council wanted to square away the $7,800 for the equipment that has already been purchased.

"He's a local contractor," Linville said. "We want him to be able to pay his employees."

With this decision, it gives the city council and the opera house some options. If there still is money in the restoration project grant funds, then they'll be able to figure out exactly how much is left. If there is not enough left to pay the last project and bills, then the city's budget committee can reconvene and see if there is any money in the city's fund to reallocate for the opera house. And the Friends of the Opera House committee can see about raising funds.

"This will be a good investment to a property that the city owns," Linville said.

Bottger said the air conditioning unit could potentially pay for itself within a year because of the energy savings.


Contact Cherise Kaechele at 541-786-4235 or ckaechele@lagrandeobserver.com. Follow Cherise on Twitter @lgoKaechele.

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