WARREN - Council members have been given the opportunity to review inspection documents and talk to city officials about the Gibson Building's condition before today's second reading vote on whether to purchase it.
Councilman Jim Valesky, D-at large, last week voted against spending $2.5 million to purchase the East Market Street building in an emergency vote because he said council members should see a survey of the property, so they would know exactly what repairs and upgrades are needed. Valesky said the purchase should go through three readings to give the administration the opportunity to provide that information.
Council members have been given the opportunity to go to Safety-Service Director Enzo Cantalamessa's office to review the city's records about the building.
Phone calls Monday to Cantalamessa to review the documents were not returned.
Valesky said the information provided by the administration answered most of his questions.
"By having a survey of the building provided to council, it shows we have our bases covered," Valesky said. "There should be no surprises as far as the infrastructure of the building."
Councilman John Brown, D-3rd Ward, said he both toured the building and reviewed the city's documents.
"I'm impressed with the building," Brown said. "I climbed a ladder to the roof, walked through its basement and went through non-public areas. I've done my due diligence."
Brown questioned whether a new sprinkler system was needed for the building, but was told there was not.
"I knew what we were getting into before we authorized the city to sell bonds for up to $3 million for the purchase of a building," he said.
Councilman Eddie Colbert, D-7th Ward, says the roof is going to have to be replaced in the next few years.
"I was told that everything else is in sound condition," Colbert said. "The HVAC and electrical systems are in good condition."
Colbert says he is not satisfied with the purchase price, but can support it because the building has renters and has the potential of getting more in the future.
While she has not reviewed the documents provided by the administration this week, Councilwoman Helen Rucker, D-at large, said the information she needed was provided during various executive sessions before the bond was approved.
"One of the good things about purchasing this building is the repairs are not going to be paid by taxpayers, but by money that will be coming from the tenants in the building," Rucker said. "If we eventually purchase the building, I will ask council to pass legislation directing the rent to be used for the maintenance of the building and the bond retirement."
Councilman Alford Novak, D-2nd Ward, said he had most of the particulars about the building last year when the administration was looking at possible alternatives to the then-proposed "one-stop" building.
"The administration gave me whatever I asked for at that time," he said. "I did my own research by talking to people who are in the building and even talking to some people involved in building it."
Councilman Vincent Flask, D-5th Ward, had not reviewed the documents on Monday, but expects to examine them before tonight's meeting.
The council vote is scheduled to take place at 5 p.m.