August 31, 2007

It Is A Holiday Weekend! Go Do Something Fun!

Posted in General at 7:46 pm by thevoicesofstuart

By Peggy Schlichter

For those who want to talk about something do it here.

Unless inspiration strikes I’m not putting a new post up.

I have moved the police comments to this post.  The comments may not be in order because I copied and pasted them in as I flipped between pages.  The original post is inside of my heading but you can see the entire comment.    

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August 29, 2007

My Thoughts on the Architech Study Discussion

Posted in my thoughts at 2:39 pm by thevoicesofstuart

By Peggy Schlichter

As always these are my thoughts and mine alone. 

It became apparent to me very early in the discussion that Mr. Sloan had not been given a clear scope of what the city council wanted.  When it got to the point where he very nicely told them they didn’t know what they were doing and needed to figure a few things out before they went any further the only council member who barely caught on was Mr. Waddell.

There was absolutely nothing accomplished during this discussion other having another person point out that they had no plan, no idea about what they really needed to do or how much money thay had to do it with.

There was no discussion on whether the existing buildings could or should be modified for ADA compliance.  They never even had them evaluated.  Nothing on, if we build new, what options where available for location.  Or even, what will we do with the existing buildings when vacated.

These were all things that the ADA Compliance Committee was suppose to get together and study.  Have they done that?  No.  They had one meeting a couple of months ago and latched onto a single plan and stopped doing anything else.  There has never been another meeting. 

The council has given the Community Cultural Center the run around for a year now.  The one project that promised a real economic development opportunity in the community  requested their help.  Now at the last minute they decide that maybe they should do this.  There is not enough time to make sure they do it right at this point and if they screw it up the city will be stuck.       

Annual Appropriation Bonds were mentioned again.  Now I am sure that they have their uses but the easy way I hear them being thrown about causes me concern.  Under Annual Appropriation Bonds only the amount of the annual payment counts against bond capacity where under a General Obligation Bond the entire amount counts against bond capacity.  It is real easy to over spend when you do not keep a eye on exactly how much you are really spending.   The next thing you know you do not have enough money in the General Fund to make all the different payments each year.  If the city defaults on a payment because they have over obligated there is no going back.

All in all I saw no appreciable change in the council’s way of doing business.  There is no excuse for them refusing to use reason and forethought to put together a plan that addresses the needs of the city in a rational, timely manner.  They just don’t want to be bothered.    

       

The Architech Study Discussion

Posted in Council Meetings at 9:30 am by thevoicesofstuart

By Peggy Schlichter

This was a lengthy discussion with very few details discussed.  Dan Sloan from Baldwin White in Des Moines presented a couple of options for the reutilization of the Masonic Temple for the City Hall, Library and Police Station.  All options basically used the first two floors only.

His study was based on square footage as detailed in the previous set of plans the city had drawn up several years ago.  Based on that footage he tried to see if he could make it fit with the space available in the Masonic Temple.  The study was not based on whether the footage was right or wrong.

Almost imediately Mr. Askren started questioning items of expense.  He pointed out that this would just be a temporary location and the dollars were way to high.

Mr. Sloan went on to outline all the code areas that needed to be upgraded or incorporated into the building.  The testing of the load bearing capabilities of the floors, the fire barriers between floors, exterior fire egress, ADA changes, all the way to handles and fixtures.

This option had a price tag of 1.3 million plus the price of the building.  The details of this pricing were not discussed in detail other than the council pointed out their objections to some of the items.  Mr. Sloan pointed out that the pricing did not include furniture and fixtures either.  

It was further pointed out by Mr. Sloan that none of the existing systems like electric, heating/air conditioning were evaluated under the study.  The pricing included replacing to code.     

Under the new construction plan Mr. Sloan used the plans from years ago to put it together into a single facility.  This came out to right around 10,000 square feet at a cost of between $200 to $230 per foot bringing the building total to $2. to $2.3 million.  Again only size was considered based on the old plans. 

The discussion then turned to the fact that we could not get a block bath house built for less than $280 per square foot calling into question the price of a new building.

A consensus was not reached on which direction to go on the project without the answers the council was looking for on the Masonic Temple building. 

The council found out that the code for the police station requires that it survive any disaster because it is a emergency service that must be able to operate continuously. 

Mr. Sloan then asked if there is a dollar amount threshhold the council was looking at on the Masonic Temple turnkey.  He was told $1 million.  He also wanted them to decide what they really want.  He pointed out that at some point the council was going to have to go to each activity to see what they really need for their operations to function properly.

He pointed out again that the mechanical, electrical and structural parts of the building were not evaluated under his study.  

Mr Waddell brought up a good point of before they dicide how much money they needed to spend on the project they needed to determine how much money they had to spend first.

The mayor then brought up the bonding capacity available and the question of whether or not to use annual appropriation bonds.  She asked do they want to put the Community Cultural Center and the Aquatic Center on the ballot with everything else as one.  Mr. Waddell pointed out that one project should not have to pass to save another or vice versa.  He thought that putting them all into the budget to see if they had enough money for all of them was a good idea but each project should be listed seperately on the ballot.

At this point the Ruan Securities repersentative pointed out that after the bath house and N. Divinsion Street projects the city had about $2. million of bonding capacity left.

The council then asked Mr. Sloan how fast he could get the information on just exactly how much it would cost to get the building to meet code requirements.  His reply was that he would have to get structural, mechanical and electrical engineers to come and evaluate the building.  He then pointed out again that the council needed to figure out how much money they had to spend before going any further.  Then they could sit down and talk because all they are doing now is spinning their wheels.

The Community Cultural Center was then brought up because the purchase/lease back agreement must be done and the $1 million bond needs to be written for the ballot if the Center is to have any chance of getting the CAT Grant his year.  Particularly since the structure cannot survive another winter without a roof. 

The whole issue now became what do we put on the ballot, what money do we have available and can we get everything done before the September 20th cut off date for inclusion on the ballot.

There was talk about another meeting on September 12th to continue these discussions.  The meeting then adjourned.

                     

  

August 28, 2007

The Bath House Bond Discussion

Posted in Council Meetings at 7:40 pm by thevoicesofstuart

By Peggy Schlichter

Here is the guts of the discussion.  It was not very long.  Pay attention to what they are not saying during the discussion.  I will add my thoughts at the end.   

The Discussion. 

After tabling the Revenue Bond items on the agenda the alternate financing presented was stated by the Ruan Securities representative as a “way of doing a general fund borrowing which would fund nearly all of the cost of the bath house.  You can go up to $400,000. on that financing which happens to match the General Corporate Purpose dollar limit and basically proceed on that route to do the Bath House funding.  There is a piece of the cost of the Bath House which is not funded by the $400,000 because the cost exceeds that.  So there are different alternative ways to fund that remaining piece and which you do not have to decide tonight.  Basically the $400,000. General Obligation borrowing is not subject to reverse referendum and it is payable from the city’s general fund.  I think basically the target to keep in mind is the annual debt service range of $50,000.  The target to keep in mind for that is to pay that from the Adair County Local Option Sales Tax.” 

Mr. Bump continued the discussion with “He is talking about any time you borrow money based on a revenue source the rates are going to be higher than if you borrow based upon the general taxing ability of the city.  So they are trying to shift this from a revenue source to a general fund source.  Now that is the way we used to do it on all those TIF projects.  You actually borrow it on the general fund to get lower rates then when the TIF money comes in use that to make the payments with.  The same concept, borrow it on the general fund to get the lower interest rate then when the LOSST money comes in to the general fund use that money to make the payment.  That’s the concept and it saves $100,000. in interest costs. 

Ruan Securities continued with “That’s right it saves $100,000. in interest costs.  If you do a revenue borrowing you have a limited defined payment source.  So that the treasury bond investor is looking for a little extra money there in terms of sales tax revenue coming in.”

Mr. Bump interjected “We are a little short on that, that’s the reason we are trying to do this.  (This was said very quietly and I had to listen to the recording several times to hear the last half of the sentence.)

Ruan Securities then said.  “And as Bill says, that in terms of interest costs it saves about $100,000. issuing general bonds as opposed to the sales tax revenue bond.”

The pay back is 10 years on this bond.  The notice for the public hearing is to be posted August 30th.  The public hearing is scheduled on September 10th at the next regular council meeting.  The funds will be available September 27th.

That concludes the council discussion.

Here are my thoughts on the discussion. 

I have a couple of different problems with the discussion. 

First, they have yet to identify the actual bond type.  They stressed that it does not have a provision for reverse referendum but never actually named the bond they were talking about. 

Second, all general obligation bonds effect debt service meaning that the cost can be apportioned on property taxes.

They just did a general obligation bond and received a reverse referendum petition.  They abandoned that bond to avoid the vote.  Yet here they come with another general obligation bond.

I am all for saving money.  This was stressed several time during the discussion.  What I am against is the fact that they are basically ignoring the publics request for a vote on the subject and continuing on as if the last bond never happened.   

They sat there and admitted that they do not have a large enough revenue source to fund the bath house as promised using LOSST money.  This tells me that prudence should prevail.  I am not seeing any.

At this point until I see the published legal notices in tomorrows paper stating the actual bond and the Iowa Code that governs it I reserve further judgement.

My whole objection to this and the walking trail is that the city council and administrator have yet to sit down and looked at the spending required to handle the infrastructure needs.  Continuing on this path without doing so will obligate the entire bonding capacity for the next 10 years leaving the city incapable of withstanding any unforseen emergencies.  This also shows lack of prudence.  

Now before anyone goes off the deep end about the petition understand this.  This posts is not about the petition.  Any and all comments about the petition will not see the light of day.  I have yet to see any comments on the petition that know what they are talking about.  I stand by my previous posts. 

With the power outage tonight I will write the Architech study post tomorrow.     

Special Meeting, Stuart City Council

Posted in Council Meetings at 3:01 pm by thevoicesofstuart

By Peggy Schlichter

All council members were present except Mr. Sherman. 

The resolution passed on Item 3 approving the contract for the Recreational Trail.

Items 4,  the Letter of Intent for the LOSST Bond and Item 5, the Resolution for the LOSST bond were tabled until the next regular council meeting.  A short discussion was held on what they intend to do instead of a Revenue Bond in order to save approximately $100,000. in interest.  A seperate post will cover this issue.   

Item 6, the $605,000 General Obligation Capital Loan Note and its associated resolutions were all passed keeping the N. Division Street Reconstruction Plan on track.

Item 7, the Architech Study was presented to the council for discussion.  A seperate post will cover this issue also. 

The Brother’s Sloss requested that the tear out concrete from N. Division Street be dumped down the sides of the drainage ditch running through their property east of S. Fremont Street to help stop of water from leaching into their property so much.  Forrest Aldrich told them that there was a tile line installed there to help dry the area out.  Mr. Askren recommended that the city purchase some riprap to put around the culvert sides.  Forrest was not sure where they told the contractors where to dump the tearout.  The okay was given to have the tearout dumped on the sides of the drainage ditch.

Messeurs Vitzthum and Foy talked about the importance of getting the $1 million dollar bond issue for the Community Cultural Center on the ballot in November.  If you remember back late last year the Cultural Center asked the City to arrange to buy the building for $1. and lease it back for 99 years at $1. a year in order to qualify for the CAT Grant.  The Cultural Center has been faithfully requesting support from both the City Council and Utility Board to get this done almost monthly since then.  The problem now is that the city is almost out of time.  The purchase/lease back agreement has not been drawn up yet.  Once that is done the council must approve it.  Then the bond must be drawn up that covers all the different aspects of where the funding is coming from and exactly who is responsible for acquiring the different funds.  Needless to say the discussion then morphed into whether or not there would be enough bonding capacity left to include it since there were no firm numbers yet on the City Hall/Library/Police Station options.  The City is going to draw up the agreement in hopes it can be finalized before the September 20th cut-off date for submittion to the County Auditor for inclusion on the ballot along with all the other city projects.       

This meeting is a little hard to decipher when they were talking about the Bath House, the Community Cultural Center and the Architech Study.  I will cover the Bath House and the Architech Study discussions under seperate posts.  

August 24, 2007

Agenda, Special Meeting, Stuart City Council

Posted in Agenda at 4:24 pm by thevoicesofstuart

Here is the agenda for the August 27th, Special Meeting of the City Council.

Please note Item 7.

spmtgcc82707.jpg

What Would You Do With $300 Million?

Posted in General at 9:50 am by thevoicesofstuart

By Peggy Schlichter

That is the question now that the Powerball Jackpot is at $300 million dollars and everyone is dreaming about winning the jackpot.   

We all would do the regular things like paying off the bills or buying new houses or cars or putting the kids through college or making some charitable contributions or trips around the world.  Those are just the things people do when they win large sums of money. 

In a jackpot this size those items would not even put a dent in the winnings.  

The more I ponder that question the harder it is to answer.  I mean really, you would now have so much money that you do not have to work for anyone else ever again.  You could afford to go and see or do anything your little heart desired.  But you still have to figure out what to do with the rest of your life. 

So assuming you woke up that next morning, looked in the mirror and asked yourself “What am I going to do with the rest of my life?” What would you tell yourself?

  

August 23, 2007

Council Tactics At Their Worst, Again!

Posted in my thoughts at 11:15 am by thevoicesofstuart

By Peggy Schlichter

As always these are my thoughts and mine alone. 

I fear the same cannot be said about young Mr. Coe’s supposed Letter to the Editor published in Wednesday’s Stuart Herald.  While the letter does contain a couple of typical “Tyler type” comments, on the whole a more distinct style prevails. 

It is clear that the intent of the letter is to discredit the petition, its signers and myself.  What it clearly doesn’t want you to know is that the petiton succeeded on two important points.

First, the Bond Attorny DID NOT allow the use of TIF monies for the construction of the Bath House.  This is key because TIF is a obligation of future tax money that would directly effect property tax rates.  See “The Controversy” post to refresh your memory.

Second, it stopped the council’s use of a General Obligation Bond to fund $400,000 of the $550,000 Bath House Project.  General Obligation Bonds directly effect property tax rates also.  If you remember the Bath House Project was promised to be paid by fundraising and LOSST monies.  Neither of which effect property tax. 

Yet when the city was informed that there was not enough money in the earmarked LOSST portion to fund the entire project and they were denied TIF usage did they bother to come back and say they were changing the financing structure?  Did they make any attempt to explain why the change was necessary?  Did they explore any other financing options?  Nope, they just threw a legal notice for the general obligation bond in the paper hoping no one would catch on.

So how did the petition succeed on these two points if there is so much wrong with it?  Quite simply the legal opinion of the bond attorney.  That legal opinion gave them 3 options and they had to choose one.   This was all covered in “The Controvery” post.  

Once that legal opinion was received on Monday the 13th, prior to the regular council meeting, all their actions were nothing more than a blatant attempt to discredit the petiton and harrass its signers.  These continued attempts show their true character and nature.     

The letter goes on to say that “the city council is aggressively seeking options on whether to build a new city hall and library or relocate both of the entities to an already standing structure in town”.  Just how aggressive is one committee meeting with no public notice of the agenda and location, with no published minutes, that latched onto a plan to have one existing structure evaluated for suitability?  You decide.  There is only one existing building in town that has the capacity necessary to house both the city hall and library.    Yet they insist on keeping the location secret because it might cost them more if the word gets out.  I don’t buy that excuse at all.  It is just another attempt to hide their actions from the public and everyone knows the building in question.

As for the mentioning of the walking trail and its repeated attempt to convince people that only phase 1 will be implemented I am not fooled.  The grants for the other phases are already written and waiting to be submitted by Mr. Tiernan as soon as the city builds phase 1.  This was stated during discussion at a regular council meeting from the very begining.  If you remember the Council changed their tactics to emphasizing only phase 1 after being bombarded by resident complaints when the actual trail route was published in a previous blog post.  Their plan has not changed they just want you to forget about it until it is to late to stop it.

The one item I found in this letter that truely offends me is “Next time a petition rolls around about city matters, I urge you to contact a city council member, the mayor or the city adminitrator.”  Just exactly when did Stuart, Iowa suspend the Constitution and Bill of Rights.  This encouragment to run and turn in our neighbors for exercising their constitutional rights is beyond pale.  The last time these tactics were used was in Nazi Germany.  Whoevers words these are, our education system has failed miserably and their arrogance knows no bounds.          

   

  

August 17, 2007

The Controversy Continued

Posted in Council Meetings at 1:14 pm by thevoicesofstuart

Special Meeting August 15th,2007  

By Peggy Schlichter

During the special meeting wednesday night the city council made a motion to abandon the “NOT TO EXCEED $400,000 GENERAL OBLIGATION CAPITAL LOAN NOTE” and designated that the 50% General Fund portion of the Guthrie County LOSST money to fund the bath house along with the Adair portion.  This provides enough funding authority to continue with the project.  The motion passed with one no vote by Mr. Crawford.

As a result the contract was to be signed by the Mayor and Mr. Sargent now has the go ahead on the project.

The pool closes on Sunday and demolition begins shortly there after.

No other resolutions were required since the LOSST resolution passed monday night covers the whole project.

The Ruan Securities representative is working up a couple of options on the percentage of usage from the Guthrie and Adair portions of the LOSST tax that would provide the best interest rate for the city.  The Mayor and Mr. Beldon will work with him and have a resolution ready for the August 27th Special City Council Meeting. 

The portion of the General Fund from Guthrie County LOSST money (around $30K annually) now designated for the project was originally used to pay city bills.  This change will not effect tax rates unless the city has a problem paying bills from the General Fund.  If at any time in the future the city cannot pay its city bills any borrowing will be in a much lower range and less of a burden on taxpayers.

This solution puts the city back on track with its promise to use LOSST money to pay for the project. 

This Is What I know About An Investigation

Posted in City News at 10:32 am by thevoicesofstuart

By Peggy Schlichter

I read in the Good Egg Gazette that I am supposedly under investigation for forging signatures on the petition.  Among other lewd acts not worth mentioning.

So, I called Officer Hrubetz and asked him when I needed to come in and give them my statement.   After a pause he replied that Robert was handling the investigation and I should talk to him when he goes back on duty this weekend.

That confirmed that yes there is an investigation.

So, now you know as much as I do about the investigation.

I did nothing wrong and I am not losing any sleep over it.

I think that this is just another intimidation tactic initiated by Messeurs Crawford and Beldon  because I dared to challenge them.  Well to bad for them because for one they don’t scare me and for two I did nothing wrong.  

The phone calls to petitioners was just another attempt to intimidate the citizens of this town in hopes that they will be to afraid to sign another petition that challenges their next little plan. 

It is my intent to let this play out and in the end we will see who has egg on their face.  It will not be me.

Phone calls to petitioners is a violation of Iowa Election Laws and any one who received a phone call challenging their signature and wishes to lodge a complaint should call Bert Dalmer at the Ombudsman’s Office.  The phone number is 281-3592.

August 16, 2007

The Proposed Trail

Posted in Sidewalks at 5:12 pm by thevoicesofstuart

By Peggy Schlichter

Here is a copy of the proposed trail route that you requested.
map_st11.jpeg

August 15, 2007

The Rest Of the Council Meeting

Posted in Council Meetings at 6:20 pm by thevoicesofstuart

By Peggy Schlichter

Mr. Avey reported to the council that the tonnage rates at the landfill will be going up effective 1 October, 2007.

The rate changes are:

Solid Waste (per ton) – from $55. to $57.

Construction and Demo (per ton) – from $55. to $57.

Special Handling (per ton) – from $79. to $81.

The per capita rate changes from $9.50 to $10.

The city budget was amended to redistribute spending authority to meet all the proposed projects.  Mr. Askren challenged Mr. Ashour on the payback of $27,000 worth of LOSST money used to pay for the park restroom.  Mr. Ashour said the payback would happen when they finance the bath house by adding that amount to the bond.  The budget amendment was approved.

The annual Road Use Report was approved for submission to the State.

Mr. Airhart presented the proposed Street Maintenance Projects that required approval to request bids on and requested an additional $120K to $135K to purchase a new street sweeper.

They are unable to repair the current street sweeper to operational use.  The water system will not work properly, the windows are falling out and the vacuum system requires him to use a mask when operating the sweeper.  The council quickly recommended that for the price of a new one they could hire a company to do the sweeping for a lot of years for that amount.  Mr. Airhart was directed to get some bids for the service.

He also requested to receive bids on 4 1/2 inch asphalt overlay on N. Harlan St. from 4th to 10th streets, 3 1/2 inch overlay on these streets .  Adair St. from Front to 7th streets,  N. 3rd and Exposition for 4 blocks and he asked about another street on the SE side but mentioned no street name.

Property owners are reminded to have their trees trimmed to 19 feet above curb before construction starts on N. Division Street.  If not done before construction starts the city will trim the trees and leave them in the yard for homeowner cleanup.  All other property owners are requested to get theirs done also.  A notice will be put in the paper.

A detour will be established around the N. Division Street project and a no parking on both sides of the streets will be in effect during the detour.  The north and south bound routes will be published. 

The total of all the proposed street repair projects was $265K and when asked how much was in the budget the council was told around $120K to $130K.  Mr. Airhart proposed doing N. Harlan only if no additional money is funded.  The State has a grant coming out next month that provides 3% money for 10 years that he may be able to get. 

Concern was expressed over whether N. Harlan Street would be ready for asphalting.  It was determined that a compaction test would be done to ensure enough water has been removed from the area before proceeding with the asphalt.

Officer David Reha, the new full time officer, was introduced to the council.  He has already established residency in town and has family all around the vicinity.  Arrangements are being made with the ILEA to have him “test out” for certification.  When he passes the test he will be certified in Iowa.

And I almost forgot, keep your yards mowed.  The police will be knocking on the door with a reminder if you don’t.

Questions were asked about when Roy Sergeants falling building would be down and cleaned up.  The hold up seems to be with the insurance company about covering the costs of disposing of the bottom layer of shingles that have asbestos in them.

There was some talk about the storm/sewer system but I am going to have to go back and re-listen to the recording before I can say any more.

And that is all I remember about the meeting and it’s suppertime.

  

About The Trail

Posted in my thoughts at 4:39 pm by thevoicesofstuart

By Peggy Schlichter

On the matter of the trail project the city received approval to use TIF money to fund the trail.  There are no provisions under that type of bond to allow the petition any standing. 

The petiton was dismissed as irrelevant.  No consideration was given to those who signed.

The outcome was determined before the public hearing started.  In a pique of anger from being challenged about the bath house funding all 5 councilmen voted to approve the trail.

Amazingly enough we do not have enough money to make all the street repairs this year but $92,000+ of your future tax money is to be spent on phase 1 of the trail.  More on street repairs later. 

You decide whether the council has your best interest at heart or not.

The Controversy

Posted in my thoughts at 11:15 am by thevoicesofstuart

By Peggy Schlichter

Everything I am about to say on the bath house and trail projects is directly related to city council actions only.  

The efforts of the Aquatic Center Committee should be recognized and applauded for their tireless efforts in fundraising.  To date on the bath house portion of the project they have raised $9,905.92 with an additional pledge from the City Utilities of $10,000.  Rose Acres has also pledged $5,000 per year for three years.  On the Aquatic Center portion of the project they have $134,599.18 pledged from supporters of which they have received $64,682.52.  Guthrie County approved a grant for $1,000 and the USDA CIPCO has promised the $300,000 zero interest loan. 

On Friday August 10th, I submitted to the Clerk of the City a Petition signed by just over one hundred registered voters which stated these 3 principal beliefs.  

1.  The undersigned residents of Stuart, Iowa 50250 hereby petition and request consideration is given that they do not recognize the proposed walking/bike trail and bath house project as qualifing under the Stuart Urban Renewal/Economic Development Plan for use of Tax Increment Funding (TIF) monies.

2.  The undersigned residents further petition that these or any other projects be tabled and left unfunded until such time that the ADA Compliance Issues and City Infrastructure Upgrade Issues are researched and a workable strategic City Maintenance and Upgrade Plan with associated funding timeline is developed and approved.  These petitioners recognize these primary issues of ADA accessibility, streets, water treatment facilities, sidewalks, sanitary sewers, water lines and storm drains as priorities to support the continued economic development of the city.

3.  The undersigned residents further petition that the signatures affixed qualify in number to support and initiate reverse referendum bylaws as outlined in Iowa Code 384.24A.4.b.(2).

The first two beliefs are self explainitory,  the third requires the bath house to be placed on the ballot in November to allow the citizens of Stuart to vote on whether or not the city should fund the bathhouse with a NOT TO EXCEED $400,000 GENERAL OBLIGATION BOND. 

Now you should remember that when the bath house project was originally proposed and presented to the public that LOSST monies were to pay for the project.  And because the pool sits in Adair County only the Adair protion of the LOSST monies was placed on resolution to fund the project.  Using the LOSST monies does not affect you property tax rate which was the reason a resolution was made 2 years ago to hold that money specifically for funding the bath house.  

After 4 different requests for bids on the project over the last two years showed that under the current blueprints for the bath house it cannot be built for less that $550,000.  The council was then told at the July city council meeting that in order to fund the project they had 3 options:  They were:

1.  Update the Stuart Urban Renewal Plan to include the entire city and submit letters from all the businesses in town stating that they believe the project will directly increase their business to see if the bond attorney would approve the use of TIF.  

2.  Fund the entire project with General Obligation Bonds and since it exceeds the $400,000 threshold put the decision on the ballot in November for a majority of 60% yes vote to proceed.

3.  Pay down the project to just under $400,000 and proceed with the Not To Exceed $400,000 General Obligation Bond.  They were then told by the Ruan Securities representative that this option is open to reverse referendum.  Reverse referendum meaning a petition of 10% of the registered voters can compel the bond election anyway.

At no time during this july meeting did the council consider that they should go back to the public and explain why they were now going to change the way the project would be funded or how it would effect their property taxes.  Nor did they consider that maybe it was time to look at a different more cost effective design.     

Of course they jumped on the first option. 

After the july meeting I realized that the city council would do everything in its power to convince the bond attorney the project would qualify for TIF and failing that, to avoid placing the issue on a ballot.

After doing some research I proposed a petition to to the bond attorney to show there were enough citizens concerned about the cost and financing of the bathhouse and if there really was the level of support for the trail project that its sponsers proclaimed. 

On August 2d, the Stuart Herald publishes two legal notices concerning the bath house.  One for a NOT TO EXCEED $550,000 LOSST REVENUE BOND and one for NOT TO EXCEED $400,000 GENERAL OBLIGATION CAPITAL LOAN BOND.  As expected this told me that the council was trying to avoid a bond election on the bath house and intended to use the general obligation bond to fund the majority of the project with out going back to the public and explaining what the problem was.      

In a relatively short time the petition had enough signatures to show that the trail support was not there and qualified under the reverse referendun code on the bath house.

On August 5th, I emailed the bond attorney a copy of the petition and a letter asking him to consider not approving the use of TIF monies for both projects.

On August 10th, I submitted the petition to the Clerk of The City. 

During monday nights public hearing for the bath house I reiterated that by trying to avoid the bond election it told me two things. 

1. They could not justify in their own minds that spending $550,000  on a bath house used 3 and 1/2 months a year was prudent.

2.  That they had no confidence that they could convince 60% of the public to support the spending of $550,000 on a building that is used 3 1/2 months a year using general obligation bonds which effect their property taxes when all along they were told LOSST money would be used.

I also repeated the question that has been asked several times why they are pushing forward with this project when the other infrastructure needs have not been addressed.

Needless to say the city council is not happy.

There is a special meeting tonight 7 PM.  stuart-city-counci81507.doc

The next segment is about the petition and the trail project.

August 11, 2007

Harry Potter Made Me Do It!

Posted in my thoughts at 11:00 am by thevoicesofstuart

By Peggy Schlichter

Well as much as any one of the books I read this week his was the longest.  So he won the toss up for my lack of attention to the blog this week.   It was a nice break from blog tending that I needed. 

Apparently so did everyone else since there were only a couple of comments submitted all week.

I did tune in and watch The Good Egg Gazette’s on-going discussion about the School Bond issue.  It appears that there is beginning to be some suggestions tossed out for consideration.  I wonder if the school board will come out with anything different this November? 

For all of you who can’t get enough of comic books The Sci Fi Channel started a new series based on the comic book character Flash Gordon last night.  

Does it seem to you that TNT, Sci Fi, Lifetime and the USA channel have better series shows to watch that the big 4?  Then there is alway Animal Planet, National Geographic and Discovery channels to find something interesting on.

The Federal Reserve is throwing money into the banking system to the tune of 24 billion thursday and 38 billion friday to help overcome the ill effects of a spreading credit crunch.  That caused the Europeans to pump $130 billion into their financial system.  The mortgage default rate is skyrocketing and causing massive liquidity problems across all  financial institutions.  This can’t be good.  If the default rate continues and these loans become due but unpayable it seems to me that the problem will just become larger.  This is cranking up to be a very ugly situation.  

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