The Allegan Professional Building at 231 Trowbridge St. is under consideration as a new city hall. (File photo)

Allegan city considers bond for $5.6 million

By: 
Virginia Ransbottom, Staff Writer

A $5.6 million proposed bonding scenario for upcoming construction projects was presented for review by the Allegan City Council on Tuesday, May 29.

$2.1 million in building authority bonds is being proposed for a new city hall, new riverfront storage and restrooms and improvements to the Regent Theatre and Griswold Auditorium.

$1.5 million in Michigan Transportation bonds is being proposed for road construction.

$2 million in limited tax general obligation Capital Improvement Plan bonds is being proposed for water and sewer projects.

The scenario is about $400,000 more than what the projects are estimated to cost.

“We’re being conservative because we can’t ask for more money if something in nature happens,” said Tracy. “We’d have to start all over again and it would cost more.”

Building bonds

Bond payments for the Building Authority Bonds would be $145,000 annually for 20 years for a total cost of $2.85 million. This scenario includes purchasing 231 Trowbridge St. and rehabilitating the building for the relocation of City Hall from Locust Street.

“We’ve already had three developers contact us about the Locust Street building so there’s not a concern about its vacancy,” said city manager Joel Dye.

With the Trowbridge building offering four times the pace of the current city hall, the first floor could house all city administrative functions under one roof, host city council meetings, provide a 50- to 70-person conference room, confidential public meeting rooms and storage areas. Some of the basement offices could also be leased.

With the rubber membrane roof in good shape, all else would be rehabilitated including gutting the interior of the first floor and modernizing it, removing exterior siding and replacing the façade.

With council meetings removed from the Griswold Auditorium, that space could be transformed into a recital or lounge area. The Regent Theater is also in the process of cleaning out a back storage area. Council approved declaring the items surplus and to be sold. Once the brickwork is repaired, the storage area could be transformed into a youth birthday party/game room.

A building owner has offered to lease the back of their Hubbard Street building and the city is considering a long-term lease to use it as a restroom for splash pad users, storage for riverfront events and a place for live entertainment to take a break.

Transportation bond

The $1.5 million in transportation fund bonds would require $110,000 in annual payments for a period of 15 years for a total cost of $1.6 million. This would be paid from the streets department with some general fund transfers.

In 2019, projects include the Robinson-Russell neighborhood, the Wolcott-Highland neighborhood, River Street, Trowbridge Street and Kalamazoo and 5th streets.

Water and sewer bond

A $2 million capital improvement plan bond would cost $137,000 annually for 20 years for a total of nearly $2.7 million. The annual bond payment would be paid from the water and sewer fund, which is financed by water and sewer fees that were raised last July with 1.5 percent annual increases thereafter to fund the plan.

The plan was identified after the city received a $939,706 grant through the Michigan Department of Environmental Quality’s Stormwater, Asset Management and Wastewater (SAW) program in 2014. It involved using cameras to look inside the city’s pipes, valued at $22 million. The condition was rated and plans developed to maintain and improve operations for the next 20 years.

2019 water and sewer improvement projects include the Robinson-Russell neighborhood, the Wolcott-Highland neighborhood, Wayland 4th Street, sewer cleaning and lining and water meter replacement.

Next steps

At the June 11 council meeting, a request to create a voting authority board will be on the agenda along with a reimbursement resolution.

“Creating a voting authority board instead of lumping it in general tax bonds would save $100,000 over the life of the bond,” said Stull.

If passed, the June 25 meeting will propose the notice of intent to borrow for each separate bond and be published in the paper on July 5. After a 45 day referendum period, the ability to draw funds for the projects would be in August/September.

By the numbers:

•Sidewalks for Safe Routes to School in the general area of Western and Sherman streets.

•Chip sealing several streets throughout the city

•Reconstruct River Street from Cora Street to 118th Ave.

•Resurface Kalamazoo, 5th and Division streets.

•Resurface Trowbridge Street from Walnut Street to Cedar Street

•Improvements to various sewer lines.

•Road and utility improvements in the Wolcott/Highland neighbor­hood and the Russell/Robinson neighborhood

•Water repairs at Wayne and 4th Street

•Water meter replacement

•Improvements to City Hall, Regent Theatre, Griswold Auditorium and the Riverfront storage and restrooms.

These projects are for the fiscal year July 1, 2018, to June 30, 2019.

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