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Fairfield turns mold problem into opportunity

new fairfield city hall
Posted at 11:14 PM, Aug 25, 2019
and last updated 2019-08-26 07:00:58-04

FAIRFIELD, TX — If you have business with the city of Fairfield, you DON'T go to city hall, at least not the old one.

That building developed some issues that caused health problems among workers.

Now, the city has plans for new digs, and city leaders say, taxpayers will get a deal.

Fairfield City hall looks a little lonely these days... Several weeks ago, all city staff there moved across town to "temporary" quarters at the fairgrounds.

Here you'll find the "water department," where else? Next to the kitchen sink.

Everybody else claims their space with make-shift partitions.

Privacy? Forget it. City administrator Nate Smith tries NOT to hear what the police department's up to.

"We are in tight quarters, and we are in tighter quarters than we were in the old city hall which is mold infested," Smith explained.

The old Fairfield City hall apparently doubled as an undercover "fungus farm." It made people sick, so they had to move with no plans to fix the problem.

"The cost of remediation was going to be extensive and also it was not gonna solve, really solve, the problem because of the topography of that area," said Smith, who adds rain from the whole block collects around the building, keeping the buildings walls nice and moist and, well,"fungus-y."

So city leaders found new digs on eleven acres at the edge of the fairgrounds, where a cluster of buildings once housed a satellite campus of Navarro College. Fairfield city leaders now see it as their pathway to the future.

Once the city moves into the old Navarro complex, city leaders will even had a spare building to rent out and, perhaps make a litlte money.

Fairfield will sell more than 2 and a half million dollars worth of bonds for public improvements.

Much of it will go into the buildings for city administration and police.

The rest will go into the water tower, streets, and other pressing projects.

Smith says thanks to lower interest rates, the new debt will cost less than the old debt.

"We paid off one of our notes,.. so, by adding on this note, it actually lowers the debt payment our taxpayers will pay," he said.

So by wheeling and dealing, and taking advantage of low interest, Fairfield leaders can move mold-free, into new, modern offices.

”Hopefully by November, we'll have a designer on board, get him assigned and we can start the bidding and constructing," said Smith.

Until then, visitors to city hall will need to adjust their expectations and get ready for close quarters, but at least there's no mold.