City council hears offer to buy old Barnes Clinic building for new City Hall

Posted February 12, 2020 at 9:40 am

Albany City Council held its first official regular meeting of 2020 last Tuesday, February 4 with five of six members present, after cancelling their January session due to lack of a quorum.

Even though it seems like most federal agencies, especially at the local city and county levels, are financially strapped, the council began its meeting last week by hearing a proposal from a local businessman to sell the city property that could be used for a new city hall/water department facility.

Long-time Albany businessman Jay Garner made the proposal to sell the city the old Barnes Clinic building, recently known as Daymar College. Garner, who owns the facility, said the building and property would be a perfect location for an Albany City Hall.

He said the facility could actually save the city money in the long run and pay for itself in less than 20 years, adding “it is one of the best buildings in Clinton County.”

Garner also noted the facility was already equipped with office spaces, conference rooms, meeting rooms and was ready to move in to at little expense. He further added that when the facility was used by Daymar College, they (the college) was guaranteed 32 parking spaces at the facility.

After listening to the presentation, Mayor Lyle Pierce noted, “we don’t have any money….” questioning the costs and terms.

Garner, during the public meeting, gave out a figure of $350,000, minus a $100,000 donation to the city for a total cost of $250,000.00.

The building owner also floated the idea of the city selling the existing city hall and water department buildings to fund the cost of a new city hall/water department building with more room and more parking.

Following the presentation, the council took no official action or recommendations and the mayor told Garner he would discuss the idea with council members and get back with him with an answer.

Patrick Padron then briefly addressed the council on behalf of the Clinton County Rec/Park Board, asking about when the next quarterly payment from the city to the park could be made.

The city and county each make quarterly payments to the park to help fund operations and there was a question as to how many quarters the city owed at this point. City Clerk/Treasurer Melissa Smith said she would check on the status of the park board payments and let the park board know something as soon as possible.

The council then heard from Brian Mills, Regional Field Representative for U.S. Senator Rand Paul, who informed the council about the work his office staff does to help assist local residents, such as veterans and those seeking Social Security, etc. as well as other issues, such as helping apply for grants–i.e. water upgrades, etc.

Councilman Kenneth Delk asked about the new water pumps that are on order. Mayor Pierce said they should be delivered and installed by late spring.

The mayor also announced he had appointed Kenneth Blevins as building inspector for Albany, replacing Carly Fudge, the latter who is apparently no longer certified.

After the council voted unanimously, on a motion by Reed Sloan, to participate in the annual Municipal Road Aid Cooperative Program at the same rate as last year, mayor Pierce commended several groups and individuals.

The mayor recognized the CCMS Governor’s Cup team on its Regional Championship and state runners-up and Tyler Guffey on his individual performance as well as the Quick Recall Team.

Discussion at the council ended in somewhat usual fashion, with discussion on the water situation, which has been ongoing and councilwoman Tonya Thrasher suggesting the issue be put on the agenda for the next meeting and asked for engineer’s input.

Councilman Delk, in reference to several areas being low or out of water recently, feared that come this spring, the city would be back in “the same shape as last summer. If we are losing water at the pumps, work on the treatment plant is not going to help….I don’t think the problem is at the treatment plant,” he said.

The next regular meeting of Albany City Council is scheduled for Tuesday, March 3 a 5 p.m. at city hall and is open to the public.