Monday night the Astoria City Council celebrated the completion of the Liberty theater holding the council meeting in the newly completed second floor conference center and recognizing those responsible for the successful renovation of the theater building. The project began in 1991 with the formation of a citizens group, a change in the urban renewal district boundaries and a pledge of $386,000 from the city that was matched by some 350 separate donors.
Also Monday the council voted in favor of increasing water rates and sewer charges by 2% respectively and increased the CSO surcharge by 4%. Councilor Drew Herzig voted against the increases saying Astoria is becoming a very expensive place to live. The city increases the CSO surcharge to cover the debt service involved in the big multi-year project to separate sewage from stormwater run-off.
The Council also agreed to authorized staff to proceed with a plan to hand over a parcel of land to Columbia Memorial Hospital at no charge. The property is located adjacent to Warren Field and was once acquired by Clatsop Community College when the college was looking at building a new facility in that area. This action is part of the deal that has the Hospital building a new sports complex on top of the old city landfill which will be given to the Astoria School District in exchange for Warren Field. The new complex will effectively cap the old city dump saving the city an estimated $500,000.
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