Tribune-Courier News Editor
HARDIN – Residents concerned over a possible acquisition by the city met at the Hardin Community Building Friday night. The purchase in question is the former Marshall County Library building, which the city could use as a new administrative facility.
The current city hall building is located at 90 Commerce Street. The former library building is located on Second Street.
“I’ve had people come and talk to me about the city buying the old library for the new city hall,” said Hardin resident Tonya Estes Friday night. “A couple weeks ago they had a special called meeting to discuss if they would purchase it. There were about five or six of us that showed up. They turned it into an executive session and asked us to leave.”
Under Kentucky law, municipal governments may meet behind closed doors to discuss the acquisition or sale of real estate. Any action taken must still be conducted within an open meeting. So far, the city has taken no action on the possible purchase.
Other residents at Friday’s meeting said they had not gotten clear answers on how the city intended to pay for the acquisition. Concerns were also voiced that the city was spending money on an unneeded upgrade when improvements could be made to the city sewer system, sidewalks and other areas.
Estes said she had talked to Hardin mayor Randal Scott and was worried over the city’s financial standing.
“If you’re in the red every month on one of these utilities, how can you justify purchasing a building?” Estes asked. “I can’t say if I’m for this or against it because nobody will give me any information.”
Estes said Hardin’s city council and members of Marshall County Fiscal Court had been invited to Friday’s meeting at the Hardin Community Building. None were in attendance.
Monday, prior to the council’s regular meeting that night, Mayor Scott said he was alotting time for discussions with concerned citizens. Scott said the city was currently reviewing its options and has not reached any decisions.
“If we had this money to purchase the library for a new city hall, why can we not use the money to better our sewer system so that we can get grants?” Estes asked. “So that our fire department can get grants to better us and so we can get lower insurance? Why can’t we use that money to fix the ditches so we don’t have to be considered a flood zone? There are lots of things we could be using this money for other than a new building.”