ILWACO - The Ilwaco City Council once again failed to approve a lease between the city and PACE (Pacific Aging Council Endeavors) during a special council meeting Monday night.

The lease for the agency, which occupies a portion of the Ilwaco Community Building, has been discussed by the council since April.

The latest version of the agreement stipulates that PACE must present at least half of the plans for substantial improvements to the portion of the building it occupies by December 2004 and the improvements must be completed within the following four years. PACE provides meals for senior citizens and in-home care for seniors and disabled people.

The agency is planning to make more than $1 million in improvements to the building which served as Ilwaco's hospital for many years. If the council approves, the lease would be reviewed every five years.

Retiring Councilman David Fritts said the city "has given every concession over the years to keep PACE here. It has cost the city a lot but we have taken it on. It's good for us and for everybody. The money is irrelevant." He said the contract is "not perfect, but it's not detrimental."

Councilwoman Shirley Burt agreed. "It's a good community effort," she said. "I want to keep PACE here."

After more discussion by Councilman David Jensen, Fritts asked Jensen if he would vote for the lease or not.

"I won't vote for it as it's written," Jensen said, pointing out that the document contained typographical errors, referring to Timberland Regional Library, which also occupies a portion of the community building, as "Timberline" library. "With amendments by the city attorney and corrections, I would vote for it. But it's a flawed document."

Mayor Ed Leonard said Tuesday that "even though the council had the lease for six days prior to the meeting, they felt there were technical problems in it and they didn't point them out to me until the meeting when it was too late to make changes."

The lease will be discussed by the City Council again at its Jan. 12 meeting.

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