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City Hall to close through September
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MONROE - A project to remove asbestos from Monroe's City Hall will relocate staff at the end of next week to allow for floor renovations.

The entire project is estimated to last six weeks. City Administrator Phil Rath said the building will be closed to ensure staff safety.

The project was prompted by increasingly degraded floor tiles throughout the building. With asbestos becoming airborne once the flooring is removed, the city decided to keep workers and all furniture out of the building during renovations.

Staff noted that when people walk throughout the hallways, cracking tile is noticeable. Another factor in the decision to remove the tiles was the ease of removing larger pieces; Rath said if the tiles can be removed whole, the chance of spreading the silicate through the air is lessened.

Still, the city is not taking chances. Heating and cooling vents will be sealed off during the process, which will begin with removing equipment and furniture from the building Aug. 11-12. While the building will be closed to the public on those days, city business will resume Aug. 15 at temporary locations among other municipal buildings.

• Rath, City Clerk Carol Stamm and Building Inspector Ryan Lindsay will conduct business from the city's downtown fire station on West 17th Street. This is also where council and committee meetings will be held during the building closure.

• The city utilities building, located at 1221 10th Avenue West, will house Comptroller Bridget Schuchart, Director of Public Works Al Gerber and the city engineering division.

• Parks and Recreation will work out of the streets department at 1064 5th Avenue. The afterschool program will be made available at the Monroe Middle School.

• Assistant City Administrator Martin Shanks will be working on community economic development at the Behring Senior Center.

• City Treasurer Stephanie Bachim and subsequent staff will be moved to the Monroe Police Department.

Existing phone numbers will work at the temporary office locations. "That's the beauty of our phone system," Rath said. "We can just plug them into any phone jack that works and we can be reached."

He added that the hours of operation will be the same as well.

According to a news release sent by Rath on Tuesday, community members looking to pay their bills, obtain waste stickers or dog licenses will be able to do so at the police department. The drop box attached to the building will not be in use, but the white drop box located across from the Monroe Post Office will still be in use.

Any building permits, licenses and voter registration forms will still be distributed through city staff at the fire station. Payments will either have to be made through an exact cash amount or a check. Arrangements for other forms of payment can be made by contacting either the inspections or clerk's office.