The Aberdeen City Council Monday discussed two building projects — the remodeling of City Hall and the cost of a new library.
The pricetag of the City Hall renovation will be $3,022,000. While City Hall is being worked on, city employees will move to the Aberdeen Recreation and Cultural Center for about a year, beginning in November. The cost for both the ARCC remodeling and City Hall work will be $3,538,000.
City manager Lynn Lander also detailed two scenarios for new libraries. The actual construction of a new library probably wouldn't begin until 2016. Lander wanted to get the discussion started because doing schematics for the building will probably take a year, he said.
Lander pointed out that both projects would be paid for without incurring additional debt. Payments for the new projects would begin when existing debt service payments expire. For instance, the city is currently paying $155,200 for the Swisher Sports Complex. An amount equal to that payment would go toward the remodeled City Hall. Also going toward the project would be the $50,000 the city gives each year toward a building reserve. The only other amount needed would be a $6,000 increase in sales tax each year, Lander said. The funding would not impact allocations for any other departments, he said.
After Lander detailed the financing, councilman Jeff Mitchell said, “This is a good example of living within our means.”
Mayor Mike Levsen noted that an annual payment of $155,000 won't seem very large in 20 years.
To plan the City Hall renovation, the council approved an architectural agreement with HKG Architects. The cost of that agreement is $215,000 minus a $10,625 credit for a previous facility study, for a final fee of $204,375.
Lander discussed funding for two possible library projects. On one, the net cost to the city would be $5,350,000. On the other, the city's cost would be $8,350,000.
To pay for the library, the city would use the $250,000 a year that's currently being used to pay for the Wellness Center. Funding would also include a $100,000 annual building reserve allocation. To pay for the lower-cost library, the city would also need to allocate $27,698 from the future growth of sales tax.
Levsen asked when a discussion will be held to talk about “what the library should be.” Council members discussed how those ideas should be gathered.
That subject will be one of the topics at the May 20 City Council meeting, when the council meets with representatives of the Alexander Mitchell board and the library foundation board.
Also at the meeting, the council put off action for a week on community event permits for three “Music on Main” events. Jason Hepola plans to present those outdoor concerts May 17-18, July 19-20 and Sept. 13-14 on the 100 block of South Main Street. Slackers Bar is also requesting special two-day retail malt beverage licenses for each event.
The council continued action because the request did not meet the requirements for special alcoholic beverage licenses, set down in a resolution passed last year. For events on public property, $1 million in insurance coverage is required. Lander said Hepola’s insurance was for property, but not for the event itself.
Lander noted that Hepola had also not contacted the police department to arrange for security. According to the resolution passed last year, for events on public property, a minium of two police officers is required.
Hepola did not attend the meeting. The only person who spoke on the subject was Bart Walker, who owns the Natural Abundance building downtown. Walker spoke in favor of Music on Main. Downtown needs more events, he said.
Also Monday, city engineer Robin Bobzien said he should receive a report on the recent smoke-testing within a couple of days. Workers didn't find smoke in a lot of spots, but they did find some, he said. Some of those were leaky manholes.
Smoke was found in a few homes. Bobzien noted that the smoke was nontoxic. Councilman Todd Campbell said it's actually good if smoke is found in homes. That means homeowners can set about fixing the problem.