Yesterday, many of you wondered openly why the city was asking about additional bond funding for Decatur Fire Station 1 and the Rec Center in a new Open City Hall question, when renovations to those facilities were also covered under the previous bond referendum.
City Manager Peggy Merriss responded this morning with this statement.
1. Improvements to Fire Station No. 1 were included in the 2007 bond issue.
In estimating what we would need for renovations to Fire Station Number 1 and rebuilding fire Station Number 2 for the total amount of funding, we estimated replacing the existing 2400sf Fire Station No. 2 with a new 2400sf Fire Station No. 2. Instead, in order to provide for placement of two pieces of fire equipment, to provide separate personal areas for each firefighter so that male and female firefighters could have some privacy in sleeping arrangements and bathroom facilities, and to provide alternative emergency management capabilities, Fire Station No. 2 is a 4800sf building. In the end, it cost about double our estimate because it was double the size.
The balance of the public safety funds have been used to design and produce construction documents for Fire Station No. 1. The cost of construction of that facility is currently estimated at $3million. We have submitted a grant application to FEMA for federal stimulus funding for the project but have not had a response.
2. Improvements to the Decatur Recreation Center were also included in the 2007 bond issue.
Recreation improvement funds included rebuilding McKoy Pool, rebuilding the Glenlake bathhouse and improvements to Glenlake Park, the Decatur Recreation Center and purchase of greenspace. Everything has been completed with the exception of Glenlake Park and the Decatur Recreation Center (DRC). We are hoping that the final improvements at Glenlake Park will be completed by the end of June, 2010 (weather allowing). We have completed the DRC master plan and are in the process of completing construction documents and we are currently estimating that the renovations would cost $5million. We have done some repairs and maintenance to the gutter and downspout system at DRC. The recreation portion of the bond funds will be exhausted shortly.
It is really important to note that the $32million in proceeds from the 2007 bond issue was basically an amount that was perceived to be acceptable to the community in terms of adding one mill of additional taxes. This was in addition to the existing .54 mills that was already being levied. The City received $16million from that issuance – and while the budgets were decent estimates for basic renovations, we knew that the amount was not sufficient to meet all the capital needs.
The City does not have a current on-going source of revenue for capital expenditures. The City’s projects have been extremely modest and have capitalized on using resources from others to help us extend our capital dollar. The projects we have completed were badly needed and were built with long-term maintenance and operations costs in mind so that the facilities should last at least another 50 years without significant reconstruction.