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City Hall elevator passes inspection as safe for use

City Hall’s elevator is functioning and has been certified as safe for visitors and employees to ride up and down on, city officials said.

That means the city has saved $300,000 by not spending it on a modified lift, as the prior administration wanted to do this year.

One mill of real estate tax in the city generates $880,000, so the savings is about one-third-of-a-mill of tax.

“The elevator still needs to be modified to make it accessible for all to use,” said Joseph Gerardi, city codes administrator.

Gerardi said that does not necessarily have to happen until the next time when the elevator is to be inspected and certified.

Tasked to look into the overall cost of making repairs to City Hall, Gerardi performed a four-week inspection of the building, placing the overall cost of repairing City Hall at $2 million in 2019.

The building is accessible, Gerardi said, but there are arguments as to how easily that is for some

individuals and there are areas where accessibility is lacking, such as door knobs and bathrooms on some floors.

Mayor Derek Slaughter says he does not want to spend any money on City Hall repairs until there is an accurate assessment done on the cost to remain and leave the building. That process is taking place through Council’s City Hall Building ad hoc committee.

Recently, Council President Randall J. Allison asked Adam Winder, general manager of streets and parks and interim general manager of River Valley Transit, about the elevator and if the elevator was working and was safe.

Allison’s question followed a series of correspondences addressed to council, including those advocating for “accessibility” for all at City Hall, which were read to council by Norman Lubin, city solicitor.

The estimated cost of the modified elevator was about $300,000, almost half of the overall cost according to Winder. The previous administration said there was $750,000 available for a modified elevator and a front ramp.

The date of the elevator inspection was Nov. 26, 2019 and it remains approved until the next inspection date June 30, 2021, according to a copy of the certificate. The certificate of operation was given by the state Department of Labor and Industry Bureau of Occupational and Industrial Safety Elevator Division.

Meanwhile, the proposal to modify the elevator was one of the projects that council reviewed as part of a two-project package that included the ramp to access the building from West Fourth Street. The ramp was about $450,000, according to the design specifications.

The ad hoc committee, chaired by Councilman Adam Yoder, meets on a monthly basis and is covered by the Sun-Gazette. The committee has been meeting using remote Zoom technology to protect individuals during the COVID-19 pandemic.

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