Judge gives thumbs up to Diamondhead City Hall purchase - WLOX.com - The News for South Mississippi

Judge gives thumbs up to Diamondhead City Hall purchase

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DIAMONDHEAD, MS (WLOX) -

A judge has ruled in favor of the City of Diamondhead to purchase the church it has been using as city hall. There was some opposition from the Diamondhead Tax Payers Association about the way the city went about making that purchase.

"When we went to court, they tried to say we didn't do it correctly, but the judge found that everything was done correctly, and the state bond attorney that has to approve the bond says we did it correctly," said Councilman-at-Large Ernie Knobloch.

The City of Diamondhead has been leasing the old Diamondhead Baptist Church to use as its city hall since 2013, but the tax payers association in the city became concerned when officials moved forward with buying the building.

"We were concerned that there were bond holders within the City of Diamondhead that had undue influence on the city council," says Peter Kolf, who is Chairman of the Diamondhead Tax Payers Association.

Kolf said he just wanted the people's opinion on whether or not the city should buy the building to be heard.

"The city council is supposed to represent the people of the City of Diamondhead, and they are supposed to keep the membership and citizens informed of what's going on," says Kolf.

According to Mayor Tommy Schafer, the city did consider other options for city hall headquarters and put out a request for proposals but got no responses.

"The way it's done, we have to approve the amount every year, so there's no bond involved. Like I said, it's a simple mortgage. We can pay for it in our present structure. In fact, we will be paying less than what we're paying now," said Knobloch.

Knobloch said there is still plenty of paperwork left to be done before the building is officially the city's, but city officials are looking forward to calling it home for many years to come.

"It will suit the needs of the city for 40 or 50 years. We have enough room for the police, the city manager, the city clerk. All the things are together in the same place, so it's really helpful," said Knobloch.

As for the tax payer's association, Kolf said he plans to drop the issue because filing an appeal would take too long.

Copyright 2014 WLOX. All rights reserved.

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