By Leesa K. Bartu
The Exeter Village board held a special meeting on Wednesday, September 13 with a dual purpose. They opened with the advertised budget hearing and after waiting fifteen minutes for public comment, they closed the hearing. There were no comments from the audience.
During the hearing the board reviewed the budget. Chairman Alan Michl explained that although the budget contains some projects the board does not intend to start, “The reason it’s all in there is because it is budgeted. We can spend it if we have to but we don’t have to.”
After the Board closed the budget hearing, they opened the special meeting.
To begin with the board passed Resolution 17-03 that adopts the 2017-2018 budget with the additional 1% as allowable by state statute.
Present for the meeting was JEO representative Nathan Boone. Michl noted that he had again visited with Ameritas representative Brad Slaughter about the financing options for the paving and downtown projects but Slaughter wasn’t able to be at the meeting.
The Board discussed taking the downtown project out of the equation which would be under the $2 million bond limit the board has taken into account that would be fiscally responsible.
Michl explained, “If we don’t do the downtown now we would probably have to wait about 10 years before they would loan us more funds to do the downtown.”
He went on to clarify that if they kept the downtown project in the mix and put off some of the street work, in four or five years the financing would be available for a few more streets because the pool bond and some street bonds would be paid down.
Before pitching his proposal for doing both the downtown and the majority of the streets Michl made the point that the village has “spent about $233,000 in engineering and geotech fees already” for the downtown and the street projects.
Michl proposed that the board bond the downtown project along with the streets except for Missouri, one scheduled block of Union and the new paving at Liberty and River. According to Michl this would bring the total cost down to their goal of $2 million.
The Board discussed this proposal and several options, but the majority felt the downtown was a priority, “That was the first thing that was mentioned to me was how important the downtown project was,” noted board member Mitch Schlegelmilch.
The Board also discussed what this would do to property taxes. Michl explained, “For every 500,000 bonded, it’s roughly $50 bucks per 100,000 of valuation. At $2.1 million the new assessment would be 230.61 per 100,000.”
When Michl asked if everyone was in agreement on doing the downtown, Vice Chairman Tim Wilbeck hesitated. He commented, “I hate to see the new cement (poured last fall) torn up in front of the Legion.”
After a lengthy discussion Wilbeck acquiesced, “I would like to be right at $2.0 million.”
Before the project could come to a vote the board held a lengthy discussion on the wording in the minutes of the August meeting. Before voting the board needed clarification on how to proceed. The board discussed having an additional special meeting so they could meet the October 2 deadline for signing the contracts.
“We need to get some clarity on the contract status and talk to Werner and get a firm cost on what will happen (with removing some blocks),” Boone stated.
Before adjourning, Boone asked if there was any possibility that the street projects would be completely removed. Schlegelmilch responded, “I hope not. I hope we go with the plan we have here.”
The rest of the board indicated their agreement with Schlegelmilch about keeping the street projects.
The Board adjourned the meeting without setting an additional special meeting time.