The issue is listed as a discussion item on the City Council meeting agenda.
But Councilman Bob Mollette wants the city to employ an architectural firm to decide the merits of moving into the former Adelphia Communications building, renovating the current municipal building or constructing a new building on the current building's site.
“I just hope that whatever comes out of Tuesday's meeting, we're going to get some professional advice before we make a decision,” Mollette said.
Last year, a building committee Baughman formed recommended the former Adelphia building on Washington Street.
But Mollette said the current site should be looked at because it provides twice the amount of space as does the former Adelphia site.
Some city officials have said they want to sell that property instead to develop a hotel or convention center. But Mollette said no one has inquired about buying it. Therefore, the city should considered keeping, he said.
“We keep hearing about how the property is prime real estate,” Mollette said. “But I haven't heard anyone else say that.”
He said he has heard citizens say they are tired of talking about the city building issue and wish City Council would do something, however.
Voters in 2006 passed a referendum to forbid any renovations on the former Marting's Department Store building which the city bought in 2002 for $1.9 million.
But some city officials have hinted about renovating it anyway, including Mayor Jim Kalb at the May 14 City Council meeting.
“I would feel like the citizens have spoken,” Mollette said.
Should City Council try to renovate the former Marting's building, the voters may need to pass another renovation, according to Mollette.
However, he said he doesn't think the city will try to renovate the building.
He said the city had no plan when it bought the former Marting's building in the first place. Building at the former Adelphia site would be a similar mistake, he said.
“I'm afraid we're jumping again into a decision,” Mollette said.
Doing away with the current mayoral form of government could be a way to avoid such issues again, according to Mollette.
“A city manager would be better suited for the city of Portsmouth because they would be a professional individual,” he said. “Members of City Council don't have to be.”
City Council usually meets on the second and fourth Mondays of each month.
But since the fourth Monday is Memorial Day, the meeting was changed to Tuesday at 6 p.m.
JEFF BARRON can be reached at (740) 353-3101, ext. 236.