3B Committee pledges funds for pool project
The proposed new aquatics center was the main topic of discussion at the Monday, Jan. 7, city council meeting and included arguments for an indoor center, funding options and a pledge from the 3B Committee.
Mobridge resident Kim Ulmer gave a short presentation on how the people of Mobridge, not the council, should decide whether they want an outdoor or indoor facility. He said other communities in the state, giving Watertown and Milbank as examples, had indoor facilities that are membership driven and self-sustaining.
Ulmer said a project of this size should be community reviewed and designed and not be left up to a few people.
He contends that building an indoor structure just off of Highway 12, near the Sacagawea Learning Center and Tiger Stadium on land he owns but said is willing to donate to the city (at a Nov. 19, city council meeting), with a one-of-a-kind theme (he suggested Lewis and Clark Lookout Towers) would be advantageous to the community because it would be included in state tourist publications.
He said the facility could be built for less than the proposed $2.5 million for the outdoor facility and would be open year round. That would allow for three times the tax revenue generated by the outdoor facility, and would allow for competitive swimming and Mobridge Youth Organization programs.
“I am 100 percent certain that Mobridge could have a self-sustaining indoor facility with recreation for much less than the outdoor pool costs,” he told the council.
Ulmer has prepared a packet of information he gathered about indoor facilities in the state, which is available to residents at the office of the Mobridge Tribune. In that packet, Ulmer contradicts information presented to the public by the mayor and council regarding the old structure and its demolition.
Tobin Morris, of Daughtry and Company, who works with communities with bond and opt-out funding issues, presented information on what is best for the needs of Mobridge in funding the aquatics center project.
He said he was impressed with the community in his relationship with the school district and council and what the city has done to remain progressive while others have not done so.
He worked with Winner to assists that city in funding of their pool project, but cautioned that no two communities in the state are the same.
“Cities on the east and western sides of the state have a bigger tax base for generating revenue,” he said.
He used Webster as an example of a community that is using fundraising efforts as well as a tax levy to build the new facility. (Note: the WAVE project website notes the community has raised $900,000 for their project).
Morris said because banks need visible revenue stream before lending money, the best option right now for this project is a tax freeze opt-out that will allow the city to take advantage of very low, fixed interest rates on the opt-out.
He explained that the amount of funds levied through the opt-out would be determined by the donations, pledges and contributions through fundraising.
For example if the payment for the project was $183,000 per year and contributions from other sources amounted to $100,000 per year, the opt-out would be for the remaining $83,000 for that year. (See accompanying charts.)
Morris said the tax burden decreases with amount of funding contributed from outside sources.
He said if the city decides on the opt-out option, it must publish the notice of its intent to use the opt-out revenue for the project. The people can then refer the opt-out to a vote with a petition signed by 5 percent of the registered voters in Mobridge.
Morris said the opt-out should be in place by Oct. 2013 in order to have the new center open by the summer of 2014.
Mayor Jamie Dietterle saidhaving Morris speak at the meeting is the beginning education of the community on the process.
“We would like (in the next nine months) to reach a fundraising goal of $1 million in order to keep the levy down and not to put such a burden on our taxpayers,” he said. “We have a very motivated pool committee who are out there doing things everyday to raise funds for the project.”
Harold Forbes asked if the committee would reach that goal and the debt service was paid off earlier the 20-year period, would the opt-out continue for the full term. Morris told the group the opt-out is for this project only and that when the debt service is paid off, the opt-out is discontinued.
Jesse Konold, representing the 3B Committee told the group the committee, contrary to what some believe, is not the Chamber of Commerce but a separate committee that decides on how the 3B tax is spent. Thirty percent of that annual funding goes to economic development, 10 percent goes into reserves and 60 percent goes to the promotion of the community.
Konold said the committee met recently and decided to pledge $8,000 a year for 10 years to the fund the pool project.
Howard Bergman questioned the amount of the pledge if the committee receives more that $100,000 per year. Konold clarified the amount the committee receives as 60 percent of that total as the other 40 percent goes to other designated funds.
The pool fund currently contains $329,000 with more to be added in 2013.