WARREN - Discussions of a $24.5 million bond will resume Tuesday.
In its latest efforts to garner support for the project, the administration has broken the bond legislation into separate parts to learn what council members are willing to support.
Council President Bob Dean said he will provide time during the 4 p.m. council-as-a-whole meeting for the public to make comments about the bond proposal.
Under the administration's proposal, a bond is being sought to upgrade, replace or improve its computer equipment, buildings and neighborhood roads and to purchase a fire truck, which combined will cost about $6.3 million.
The administration also is pushing for council to approve the financing and construction of a one-stop administration building at a cost of $9.5 million. It would like to refinance $1.4 million worth of pension bonds and a $7.3 million water revenue bond, as well.
The administration made a presentation to council in April about a $23.8 million bond issue. But the proposal was pulled back, and this new bond issue is being presented for consideration.
By the numbers:
- $6.3 million - Upgrade, replace or improve computer equipment, buildings and neighborhood roads, and purchase a fire truck
- $9.5 million - Finance and construct a one-stop administration building
- $1.4 million - Refinance pension bonds
- $7.3 million - Water revenue bond
Total: $24.5 million
In 2011, then-Mayor Michael J. O'Brien also tried to get passed a multi-million bond proposal, including a then-$8.8 million one-stop building.
"Some of the changes in this package is the administration has pulled some of the short-term loan projects, such as vehicles and equipment, out of the bond package," said Councilman Alford Novak, D-2nd Ward, and council's finance chairman.
Novak said the administration is asking for extra money for the one-stop building because discussions with county officials indicated the county appears to be interested in sharing the space.
The administration also will be presenting plans and drawings for the building.
"I'm pleased they are separating some portions out," Councilman Greg Bartholomew, D-4th Ward, said. "There are some aspects of the bond that some council members have said they may be willing to support. Others need more discussion."
Bartholomew said council may support the entire package, but he feels allowing council to vote on different sections of the proposal will allow them to set priorities.
"I've spoken to some of my constituents who believe this administration has been doing some good things - including its support of the massage parlor legislation and finding matching funds for demolition - but they want some basic improvements and upgrades done before a one-stop is built," Bartholomew said.
Administration officials have said a combination of historically low interest rates and the fact the city's two largest debts are expected to be paid off before the end of 2013 would mean a bond package could be taken on without significantly increasing annual payments.
Councilman John Brown, D-3rd Ward, said he would like to see the electric, gas and utility savings for the one-stop.
"The administration said they will bring us that kind of information," Brown said. "I will listen to what they have to say."
Councilman Eddie Colbert, D-7th Ward, understands the city can afford to get the bond and repay it, but he says his constituents are concerned about more pressing issues than a new building.
"I would like to see a comprehensive plan that will address stability in the police, fire and operations departments," he said. "They are concerned about their homes being broken into and there being enough firefighters."