Spicer City Council moves forward with bonding for Glen Oaks, seeks kickback
SPICER -- The Spicer City Council voted to move forward with a bonding project for Glen Oaks Senior Housing and Care Center in New London. As part of the motion presented at the regular meeting Wednesday, the council included consideration of $25...
SPICER -- The Spicer City Council voted to move forward with a bonding project for Glen Oaks Senior Housing and Care Center in New London.
As part of the motion presented at the regular meeting Wednesday, the council included consideration of $25,000 for the city as a requirement. The council also set a public hearing for the bonding at 5:30 p.m. Oct. 25.
Living Services Foundation LLC has purchased Glen Oaks and is seeking to bond up to $14 million to refinance and make improvements at the facility. It needs a government entity to issue the bonds -- in order to get a lower interest rate than commercial lending -- and is working with Spicer because the city isn't issuing any other bonds this year. New London is issuing bonds for street and utility projects this year and would potentially face higher interest on its bonds if it also issued the Glen Oaks bonds.
The Spicer City Council spent a considerable amount of time Wednesday discussing how much money it needed for consideration. The sum of $10,000 was noted in a letter from bond consultant David Drown, who met with the council at the last meeting and discussed the consideration at that time.
"What we are trying to do is pay for a library and build a ballpark, and $10,000 doesn't cut it," said councilman Ron Schneider. "We would be remiss if we didn't negotiate. We have something of value here."
The motion to move forward with the bonding passed on a 3-1 vote with Schneider, Marlys Larsen and Terry Holmquist voting for and Mayor Bill Taylor voting against the measure. Council member Troy Block abstained from voting.
In other business Wednesday:
- The council approved having the city participate in improving the city ballfield as long as the city's cost doesn't exceed $150,000, if the city can use private contributions to repay a general obligation bond for the project and contingent on the New London-Spicer School District contributing $50,000 to the project.
Jerry Reiter and Steve Rambow, members of a group of citizens who wish to improve the ballfield, told the council that the city will receive significant benefits from the park improvements, including an investment from the school district in a Spicer facility.
The improvements include lighting, a 192-person grandstand and canopy, a concession stand, field improvements and a new scoreboard.
The NLS School Board has referred the school's contribution to the board's buildings and grounds committee for review.
John Vraa, NLS community education and activities director, told the board that participation in baseball is at an all-time high and that the school wishes to partner with the city to make the project happen.
"We want to keep baseball here in Spicer," Vraa said.
The group has also identified or secured $225,000 in cash and in-kind donations for the project. Spicer's Economic Development Authority has pledged $15,000 to the project because of the significant positive economic impact that comes with a better facility and the ability to host Legion, VFW and other tournaments, according to Jean Spaulding, EDA director.
The motion passed on a 3-2 vote with Taylor, Block and Holmquist voting for and Schneider and Larsen voting against the measure.
- The council approved submitting a grant application for the expansion of the Erickson library. The project is expected to cost $378,000. The city is seeking a $200,000 grant and is trying to raise from $175,000 to $200,000 from local and area residents before the Oct. 23 grant deadline. Approximately $20,000 has been raised to date, according to city administrator Kimberly Wothe.