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Commission finalizes funding for library

By Corene Brisendine

City commissioners finalized funding for the proposed $2.125 million expansion of the library Tuesday night on the same 3-2 vote by which it was initially approved earlier this month.

Commissioners Wynn Butler and John Matta opposed the expansion agreement, which contained two modifications from the plan commissioners had earlier reviewed. The first involved the library board and foundation agreeing to change their contribution to $800,000 with $450,000 being provided up front. The previous understanding was that the board and foundation would provide one-third of the cost up to a maximum of $800,000, while putting $250,000 up front.

The second change came from Commissioner Rich Jankovich, who proposed to include “other funding sources” in addition to general obligation bonds, as had been originally proposed.

Jankovich said he was confident the finance department could find other sources to help fund the project. All commissioners supported the amendment 5-0, but when it came time to approve the entire consent agenda, Butler and Matta still opposed the funding.

Commissioners unanimously approved giving Continental Mills economic development incentives totaling $219,000 in forgivable loans and grants. The only concern involved the city’s calculation of wages in scoring companies’ compliance and viability in the community. Commissioner Jim Sherow said he had seen in past scoring scenarios where a company paid higher salary positions, but well below the $12.80 per hour in hourly positions, and still outscored Continental Mills. He said he would like to see the city staff address the scoring calculation method.

As they approved annexation and rezoning of the Congressional Addition in the Grand Mere subdivision, commissioners expressed concern with drainage, vehicle access and trash collecting at the end of the streets. Steve Zilkie said storm water would generally empty into a detention pond west of the development.

He said from there the water would dump into Wildcat Creek, but the way the developer is creating the detention ponds, it actually creates a net negative impact, rather than a net zero impact.

Zilkie said the remaining storm water runoff will drain into an existing detention basin, but he described that amount as negligible.

As for vehicle access, Zilkie said fire department staff had already reviewed the plans before receiving approval from the planning board. Those plans included a vehicle turn around at the end of the street in the new development that was large enough for any large vehicle to turn around in.

Finally, city manager Ron Fehr said it was the property owner’s responsibility to keep the area at the end of a dead-end street clean and free of trash. He said the code office would also be responsible for contacting the owner and enforcing the code through them.

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