Political Notebook

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Political timing denial

The City Council this week spent 90 minutes questioning the city’s handling of its plan to spend nearly $1 million to upgrade all the elevators at Citizens Square.

The questions ranged from studies done on the elevators prior to purchasing the building to why the city should use tax increment money to finance the expense. The most pointed question, however, came close to the end.

Council President Tom Smith, R-1st, asked what many at the table and in the audience were thinking when he questioned whether any political considerations were made in the timing of the announcement. The city didn’t disclose the cost until early January, a few months after Mayor Tom Henry won reelection.

“Absolutely not,” Controller Pat Roller responded, noting she got the mayor in trouble by having the expense come out when it did. Roller said previously she was given a report on the elevators in August, but decided to wait on it for a few months.

Roller also apologized to the council for not informing them of the elevator expense before it went to the Redevelopment Commission for approval. The contract to do the repairs will go before the council for a vote.