The Common Council voted 7-2 to accept a USDA grant and a low interest loan to refurbish the WE Energies building on Clinton Avenue and convert it into a police station.
WE Energies donated the building to the city and the added space will be used to alleviate cramped conditions at the City Hall facilities.
Alderpersons Jeannie Schley and Gloria Dunlavy voted no.
Schley and Dunlavy voiced their concerns over the project costing more than the $350,000-$450,000 that was originally projected.
City Administrator Lisa Kuss said those figures were based on a grant amount of $150,000, not the $100,000 amount that was offered.
The city will take a loan for $488,000, and the council was informed that by approving the loan, they would be able to lock in an interest rate of 3.75 percent rather than the original 4 percent projected rate, which will save $15,000 in interest expense. It was also stated that the city would see savings of $73,600 if they gave the project a Build America designation, which the city has the ability to do since this will be a capital construction project.
With interest, the total project cost is estimated at $637,000. “We have other buildings we maintain that we aren’t using to full capacity and taxpayers aren’t happy about it,” said Dunlavy, referring to the old electric utility building on 12th Street. Kuss explained that the utilities could not be moved back to that location because the building is not handicap accessible. “I agree that the police department is overcrowded,” Dunlavy said. “I’m just concerned about the maintenance and operating costs.”
In other business, Todd Taves of Ehlers Inc. reported that the city is at a 50 percent debt capacity, stating that this is not uncommon. “Some communities are at 80-90 percent, and you don’t want to be that high,” Taves said. “Fifty percent is not uncommon for towns similar in size to Clintonville. I’d say you are average, maybe slightly higher than other communities your size.”
Taves went on to state that Clintonville’s debt is projected to be at $4.8 million at the end of 2010. He also went on to discuss the city’s Tax Increment Districts (TIDs). “When looking at your TIDs, Clintonville is in better-than-average shape,” Taves said. “TIDs have been hit hard in recent times by poor economic conditions, but you’re fortunate to be where you’re at. You’ve made wise decisions not to overspend in the TID districts, and when you have spent money in those districts, you’ve kept it on pace with growth. Given your geographical location, you’ve seen more industrial development than other communities haven’t. You have more industrial development than other communities your size, and that’s because the management of the TIDs has been done right.”
Alderperson Mike Hankins thanked Taves for his presentation. “It’s good to hear this sort of thing-not everything is bad or failing,” Hankins stated.
The council was informed that a stone recognizing Robert N. Schunk has been ordered and will be placed at Pickerel Point when it arrives.
Three ordinances were approved; ordinance 1061-municipal court bond schedule (1st reading) and ordinance 1062-temporary structures (1st reading) were approved, along with ordinance 1060-repealing I-P District paving requirements (2nd reading).
The council also approved recommendations to declare the wastewater department’s water softener, truck crane and sludge tank blower as surplus, along with declaring the library lawn mower surplus.
Council members and members of the public were also informed that budget discussions will be held on Monday, Oct. 25 at 5 p.m. and Monday, Nov. 1 at 5:30 pm. The sessions will be held at City Hall and the Finance Committee will be seeking input on decisions regarding the 2011 budget.