AMARILLO, Texas (KAMR/KCIT) — During Tuesday’s regular meeting of the city of Amarillo’s City Council, officials are expected to revisit a conversation that has come up time and time again at numerous council meetings: the fate of Amarillo’s City Hall.
According to the agenda for Tuesday’s meeting, which city officials released Friday afternoon, numerous items are on the docket relating to a conversation, and potential consideration, of how to fund the renovation of the Amarillo Hardware building as the city’s new City Hall facility.
According to previous reports by MyHighPlains.com, the city purchased the property in November 2020 after the current City Hall facility has shown wear and tear, including plumbing issues, structural damage and various deterioration throughout the building.
Tuesday’s agenda outlines three funding options for the renovation of the Amarillo Hardware building:
- Calling a Municipal Bond Election on May 7, 2022, placing a measure on the ballot funding for renovation of the building;
- Consideration of approving and authorizing publication of notice of intention to issue certificates of obligation for the project;
- Consideration of an ordinance authorizing the issuance of the City of Amarillo, Texas Combination Tax and Revenue Notes, Series 2022.
Earlier this year, the Amarillo City Council attempted the certificates of obligation route to fund the proposed relocation of City Hall. However, after a lawsuit from Craig Gualtiere, the owner of Roasters Coffee & Tea, claimed that the city was using the certificates of obligation to fund “Proposition A” a $275 million bond proposal intended for improvements to the Amarillo Civic Center Complex that was voted down in 2020, the council withdrew the certificates of obligation in August.
In the lawsuit, Gualtiere claimed that the issuance of these certificates of obligation was illegal. According to court documents released in November, the Potter County District Court found that the city’s withdrawal “renders all claims and causes of action asserted by the City of Amarillo moot.” However, the court also found that all the claims and causes of action asserted by Gualtiere in his lawsuit “are not rendered moot by the City’s withdrawal of its notice of intent to issue Certificates of Obligation” and that they “should be addressed on their merits.”
After the withdrawal, the Amarillo City Council revisited the City Hall conversation during its last meeting Nov. 9. During this meeting, officials from Sims + Architects made a presentation to the council, outlining the various options for City Hall, including moving to the Amarillo Hardware building, renovating its current location as well as building new construction. City officials also initially laid out funding options for the project.
After that presentation, the council ultimately decided to move forward with the move of City Hall to the Amarillo Hardware building, with numerous members stating that it will help the city in the long run.
“That was a smart decision then. It’s a smart decision now. It will be a smart decision tomorrow,” Councilmember Eddy Sauer said at the time. “The way that we pay for it, we’re just going to have to figure out how that happens. There’s not a better alternative.”
Cole Stanley, a member of the Amarillo City Council, previously expressed his reservations surrounding the project in the past, encouraging the city to look at other, cheaper, options for the project. But he said during the meeting that he feels like the best approach he should take for the project is helping find the funding for whatever city leadership decides on.
“I don’t think it would be worth my time to go look at other buildings or try to find land or anything like that… if you guys have come far enough along to know that you feel and know the Amarillo Hardware building is a good investment,” Stanley said at the time.
This story is developing. Check with MyHighPlains.com for updates.