Greenfield moves forward in refinancing city hall; Potential savings, nearly $300,000

BY LINDA HERKENHOFF

Linda.herkenhoff@ecm-inc.com

The Greenfield City Council covered a number of topics at its June 5 meeting, including the refinancing of the Greenfield City Hall and Public Works building, proposed improvements to parkland parking and the hiring of public works staff.

LOAN RESTRUCTRING

At a previous meeting, the city’s financial advisor, Steve Mattson, presented options available to the city in restructuring debt payment regarding the city hall and publics work facility on Commerce Circle.

The property was purchased for approximately $700,000 back in 2005 with additional loan dollars attached to the debt for improvements, including the addition of council chambers.

The latter has not been used as the improvement was subsequently identified as not being fiscally viable. Regular city council meetings continue to be conducted at the original city hall building located on Town Hall Dr. with the exception of those where a larger than average head count is expected. In this case, the public work area of the newer site is used to meet the need.

Mattson explained that when the loan was secured in 2005, revenue bonds were the preferred method of debt repayment for municipal buildings, but that has changed. Under the previous financing structure, a full faith in credit lease, the sitting council could decide on any given year to step away from the "lease."

General obligation bonds are now being recommended and do not require a referendum as they once did. They also come with a reduced interest rate. Mattson believes that moving timely on this matter could secure an interest rate under two percent, and a savings over the remaining obligation of about $293,000.

In addition, Mattson posed to the council options to consider that would help shorten the length of the debt repayment and create an opportunity, at the same time, to purchase land from the park for a future city hall site. The land was originally procured using park dedication funds and must be used to that end. In this scenario, the city would identify how much land it needs, and where, and pay the park dedication fund fair market value for it. These funds would be available for park improvements.

Mattson told the council that by keeping the tax levy on the city hall debt constant (at about $90,000) the remaining 13-year repayment schedule could be cut down to 7 years. The purchase of land could extend that projection, depending on the price, but that the obligation would still be satisfied much sooner.

The council will conduct a Public Hearing on this matter July 17 during its regularly scheduled meeting.

PUBLIC WORKS

The city has been interviewing candidates to fill the position vacated a few months ago due to a retirement.

A party has been identified that staff feels would make an excellent fit as the city swings into summer and heavy outdoor work requirements. Currently the public works staff consists of one employee.

Councilor Tom Cook, also of the Employee Review Committee, will review the candidate’s background and experience with the city’s administrator in anticipation of approval and hire.

ROAD CONSTRUCTION

In talks regarding the rerouting of traffic from Highway 55 to County Rd. 50 during the MnDOT overlay project, the prospect of barricading Town Hall Dr. at 50, and using the Town Hall building’s parking lot as an access/thorough fair to 50, arose.

This option presented the possibility of bargaining with MnDOT for aid in improvements along the route, like the parkland parking lot. That will not be the case, however, some opportunities have presented themselves due to this project.

Hertaus has spoken to the contractor on the overlay project, Valley Paving, and got the price of purchasing the millings they are removing. The millings could be used to create a paved parking surface (though not "rollerblade ready" Hertaus cautioned) at about half the cost of putting down class five. Valley Paving is willing to deliver the millings to the park site.

No action was taken; the council is still examining this option.

Hertaus also told the council that the talked with the company installing power for the temporary stoplight being installed at the five-corned site adjacent to the parkland and was able to convince them to run the power to the siren pole, allowing for an electrical power outlet that could be used, with some modification, to power up lights or other needs for community get-togethers on a limited basis.

This is timely for Greenfield, which is turning the heat up on it’s first city park with a

"Night to Unite" blowout that will feature a "farmers market – crafters fair" among its lineup that day.

The city is welcoming crafters and nonprofit organization to participate. The event is Aug. 7, from 3 to 8 p.m. More information is available at the city’s website: www.greenfield.govoffice.com

The next regularly scheduled meeting of the Greenfield City Council is Tuesday, June 19, at 6390 Town Hall Dr.

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