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Ottawa Mayor And Council Member Spar Over Beautification Grants

Posted by wlpo on April 3, 2012

Very few if any towns in the area have spent as much time and money on beautification projects as Ottawa.  A city commissioner wants to put the brakes on more of these types of plans.

When voting whether or not to pursue grants to install new lights on Columbus Street and re-fill the I & M Canal, Dan Aussem suggested a one-year moratorium on landscaping work.  He questioned how the city could ask workers to go without raises and yet spend money re-watering the canal or beautifying a downtown street.

Mayor Bob Eschbach was befuddled by Aussem’s stance saying money for the grants would come out of a TIF designed only for economic development and has nothing to do with city salaries.  Eschbach says the grants could be 80 percent funded by the federal government which to him would be a mistake to pass up.

The council tied on a vote to pursue the grants with Commissioner Ed Whitney joining Aussem in saying no.  Whitney thinks more money needs to be used to repair the Reddick Mansion.

After the vote Eschbach shook his head saying “I can’t believe it”.  Commissioner Dale Baxter missed the meeting enabling a tie vote.

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