Library expansion, MPO on city’s agenda

By Corene Brisendine

City commissioners plan to discuss the library expansion and the Metropolitan Planning Organization’s designation agreement during Tuesday night’s meeting.

A proposed agreement with the library and the library foundation would increase the mill levy by 1.7 mills. City manager Ron Fehr said the state has a statute that allows municipal libraries to use up to 6 mills to cover administrative costs. He said the library currently uses 4.3 mills, but in order to pay for the expansion, the library wants to use the 1.7 additional mills to cover the cost of the forgivable loan issued to the library by the city for the expansion.

The loan from the city will be about $1.3 million to cover the cost of construction. The library has agreed to raise the remaining $800,000 through private donations, which will cover the cost of expansion planning and design. Fehr said the city cannot refuse the library’s use of the levy because it is a state statute.

On the MPO agreement, commissioners will need to either approve it as written or reject it. If they reject it, the organization will need to re-write the agreement and get it back in front of the commission for approval before Feb. 1. Failure to do so could jeopardize $1.5 million in federal funding for transportation improvements.

On the consent agenda, the city will consider several improvements, changes and applications for federal funds. The Farrar Corporation has asked the city to approve the sale of some of the land given to them in a agreement with the city to build a foundry. Due to the economy and slow growth, the corporation has decided not to build the foundry, Fehr said. The corporation now wants to sell part of the tract of land.

The commission will also consider a resolution to contribute additional revenues to the STAR bonds as a result of changing the south end redevelopment Lot 9 from an entertainment lot—originally intended for a movie theater—to a second hotel. Fehr said the revenues from the hotel will be less than those from the theater, but he said they should make up the difference in revenues with the local “bed tax.”

Commissioners will also consider improvements to the intersection of U.S. Highway 24 and East Poyntz Avenue . The improvements will provide additional turning lanes for eastbound travel off Tuttle Creek Boulevard from both the north and south bound turning lanes.

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