Carroll resident Richard Collison's lawsuit attempting to halt Carroll's library renovations was dismissed by a district judge this week.
Carroll resident Richard Collison's lawsuit attempting to halt Carroll's library renovations was dismissed by a district judge this week.

September 25, 2018

A Carroll resident failed in his last-minute attempt to halt the city’s multi-million-dollar renovations of City Hall and the public library when a judge dismissed his lawsuit on Monday.

The lawsuit — filed last month by Richard Collison, a wealthy retired businessman who for years has opposed the city’s library renovation proposals — sought an injunction to prevent city leaders from starting construction on the project, which is expected to begin next month.

Collison insists that the project will cost more than projected and taxpayers will be stuck paying for the overages, which he says would violate the promises city leaders made to residents who approved a $3.8 million bond referendum to help pay for it.

But a judge decided that Collison’s lawsuit was premature because those outcomes haven’t happened, and might never happen.

“The specific claim here is not immediate and concrete until the city engages in official enforceable action as to raising taxes or allocating public funds in a manner inconsistent with the referendum,” District Judge Steven Oeth wrote in his ruling.

Collison is unsure if he will appeal, he told the Daily Times Herald. He has about a month to decide.

“We will assess the judge’s ruling and go from there,” he said. “It’s a disappointment obviously, and the worst part about it is we let down the taxpayers who are less fortunate than some. It creates a burden they don’t deserve.”

City Manager Mike Pogge-Weaver declined to comment on the judge’s ruling.

Library and city officials have moved from their former offices to temporary locations they will occupy during the renovations, which are expected to take about a year.

The $6.8 million project will expand the library at its current location into the former City Hall space, and City Hall will move to the former Commercial Savings Bank building, which the bank donated to the city.

Construction bids that the city received for the project will expire this week, and the City Council is expected to award a contract to Badding Construction at a special meeting that had not been scheduled as of press time.