Assistant Minority leader Rep. Todd Book, D-McDermott (89th District) administered the oath of office to Noel Wednesday, and Noel said he had several issues with the decision to build at that location, or even whether to move at all.
“If the city building is structurally in bad shape, I will go along with them 100 percent. But I would like to see an engineer's report on that building (the current Portsmouth City Building) to see what kind of a structure it is, and even if it is bad, and must be torn down,” Noel said. “We've been told that it's going to take probably a couple of years before they can get moved out of the building. By the time they build and all of this, and since there is going to be just right next door, that lot where the old school was, I would, rather than move to a new location, unless they can show me where that property is going to be really beneficial to the city by building something else there, I would like to see the city build a new addition there, or an addition onto the building we have. That has always been my position.”
Noel, who said he fully understands he will have just one vote, said he definitely would need proof the current plan is better than his.
“I will argue that until they show me where it's wrong,” he said. “And if I'm wrong, I'll be the first to admit it.”
Noel, who takes office on Jan. 1, said his first priority is to serve the needs of the 6th Ward.
“I want to get my feet wet first, but I need to speak for the people up there, because I've been around during my campaign throughout the ward, and most of the people are concerned about their streets, alleys, and sewers, and they have been neglected,” he said. “I know the city doesn't have the money to do everything now, but at least there should be an effort made in the 6th Ward.”
Noel said he had not been involved in the recent controversy over the consideration of building a joint school with New Boston, and with the talk of possible annexation of Sciotoville to the village of New Boston.
“I haven't been around since that came up,” Noel said. “Back 25 or 30 years ago, I remember when they tried to annex, and of course Sciotoville didn't like the idea at all at that time, and I have talked to a few people up there that say they would like to have something done concerning the schools. I saw the article about it in the paper. I didn't know about the meeting, so (I) wouldn't want to comment on it until I talk to some people.”
Noel formerly worked as a labor relations officer for District 9 of the Ohio Department of Transportation, and defeated Will Mault in the November election to become the new representative for the 6th Ward.