Funding for a $24.7 million community center divided the Fairmont City Council on Monday. Mayor Debbie Foster cast the tie-breaking votes on three different motions. Council members Jim Zarling and Wayne Hasek wanted to delay any action for 60 days to allow for an informational public meeting. Council members Tom Hawkins and Ruth Cyphers wanted to move forward with action Monday,
The first vote involved the voter approved the local option sales tax will generate an estimated $600,000 annually for 25 years, up to a maximum of $15 million, with the city council determining the placement of the funds. Jim Zarling suggested delaying consideration of the sales tax allocation for 60 days to allow for an informational public meeting about the community center and made a motion to do so. Zarling and Wayne Hasek voted to delay allocating the local option sales tax for 60 days to allow time for a public hearing, with Tom Hawkins and Ruth Cyphers voting no. Mayor Foster broke the tie with a no vote. The original motion to allocate the $600,000 annually to the community center then came up for a decision, drawing yes votes from Hawkins and Cyphers and no votes from Zarling and Hasek. Foster broke the tie with a yes vote.
The third split involved a resolution for the city to commit $14 million for construction of the community center when the committee has raised an additional $10.7 million pledged to the construction. Zarling made a motion, with a second by Hasek, to delay the vote for 60 days. Mayor Foster sided with Zarling and Hasek to delay the vote for 60 days, allowing time for the public meeting. Hawkins and Cyphers opposed the delay.
Michael Edman, a member of the committee, informed the council that the committee planned to hold a public meeting sometime in October. He added that delaying the allocation vote would have an impact on the campaign for private funding the committee plans to roll out soon.