OTHELLO — The Othello City Council on Friday voted to spend nearly $500,000 to buy most of an entire city block and expand the city’s public works and parks and recreation department.
At a special meeting, council members approved an amendment to the 2018 budget approving the expenditure of $501,393 for five parcels between Broadway and 1st and Pine and Fir, kitty corner from the city’s current public works facility.
The purchases mean the city now owns almost that entire city block.
According to Mayor Shawn Logan, the city “got a bargain” on the five parcels, and had to act quickly to take advantage of the fact the owner — Susan Lyon, whose husband Leonard died in March — expressed an interest to sell after the current tenant moved out.
“(Public Works) doesn’t have all their equipment out of the weather,” Logan said. “We will (use the property) to store equipment.”
Logan said the city will use the large building facing Broadway for a mechanic shop and vehicle storage, and another building on site for the Parks and Recreation Department, as well as miscellaneous storage for salt, sand and city water meters.
“This should take care of the needs of the Public Works Department for the next 50 years,” Logan added.
The funds for the land purchase will be drawn from the city’s street fund, real property reserve fund, water reserve fund and sewer reserve fund.
According to the Adams County Assessor, the five parcels were valued for tax purposes at $365,200 in 2017 for the 2018 tax year.
Logan said the land and building purchase also provides Othello with alternatives for record storage, as the current record vault is running out of room.
“We generate lots of records at an alarming rate,” Logan said.
In fact, the city is working with the Washington Secretary of State’s office to find a an acceptable way to completely digitize the city’s records within the next three years. This would allow people to “do their own public records searches,” Logan said.
“The city is growing, public works is growing, we think we found a really good way to make provision for a really good deal,” the mayor added.