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Ethan voters to decide between new office facility, revamped dairy

ETHAN -- The people of Ethan will vote on whether the city will construct a new office building or revamp a former dairy. The Ethan City Council voted 4-0 in favor of an election at Monday's regular meeting. Alderman Robert Fitzgerald was absent....

ETHAN -- The people of Ethan will vote on whether the city will construct a new office building or revamp a former dairy.

The Ethan City Council voted 4-0 in favor of an election at Monday's regular meeting. Alderman Robert Fitzgerald was absent.

"It is not an easy thing to sit on this side of the table to figure out where to house city hall," said Nancy Schoenfelder, chairwoman.

The two current plans are to use city funds and other funding to construct a new building at the corner of Main Street and Railroad Street, or to remodel the former dairy just across the street.

Alderman George Puetz brought an estimate for the remodel to Monday's meeting for approximately $162,000. That does not include plumbing, closing costs, bond sales or cleaning. The plan for a new office building will cost just more than $50,000, which doesn't include dirt work costs.

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Outgoing City Finance Officer Sonya Hespe and incoming officer Bill Kinder will check into the process for the public vote. No date was set for the election.

Resident Diane Reinfeld said the city needs a temporary space for its office before it can approve any plans for a building. The city office is currently in the fire hall, but space is short and the firefighters want the space back.

The council voted 3-0 to move the city office from the fire hall into a space on Main Street owned by Bob Brenner. The city will pay $250 per month plus utilities.

"There's plenty of space," Kinder said. "I can make it work."

Hespe said Brenner has been good to work with and is willing to change the lock to ensure only the city has access to the space.

The council held a role call vote with Schoenfelder abstaining because Brenner is her relative.

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