|Written by Staff Reporter|
|Wednesday, 14 May 2008 12:34|
There was a whiff of nerves and tension in the standing room only crowd in the Cottonwood City Council chambers May 6.
The two big items up for discussion were revised plans for a new recreation center and the possible annexation of Bridgeport.
Despite reservations from some council members and residents, the council directed the city’s design team to continue with finalizing plans for the new recreation center. The question of whether or not to keep the pool in the original design was left on the table for later.
Nearly $1 million has been spent to date with $579,000 going for design work and about $400,000 for insurance, underwriting, feasibility study, and the cost of the bond issuance, Finance Director Rudy Rodriguez reported.
Even if the council wanted to, Rodriguez said, the $20 million Greater Arizona Development Authority loan approved by voters in 2007 cannot be returned to lenders before 2018, after accruing an estimated $7.7 million in interest.
In other words, no matter what happens the city will be responsible to pay $28 million back to GADA in 10 years.
The city expects to pay $10.5 million in interest to GADA over the course of the $20 million, 20 year, variable interest rate loan, Rodriquez said. Roughly $17 million of that total is earmarked for recreation center construction.
Public Works Staff Engineer Morgan Scott reported on two revised plans, one showing an eight track lap pool and the other without the pool.
“The longer we [Cottonwood] procrastinate on starting this project,” Scott said, ”will cause the cost to increase due to inflation.”
Cottonwood resident Bob Oliphant said the success of the project is directly dependent on the assumption that the population will continue to grow and that younger families will begin moving to the area.
“There is not a single word on how the city is eventually going to eat the cost of the [day to day operations],” Oliphant said.
Councilman Terence Pratt offered the following suggestion.
Councilman Duane Kirby said he was still not convinced about the project. He said he understands the general feelings and passions associated with the project, but still has reservations about going through with the plan.
verall, he reported a lack of confidence in the people running the project.
The city needs to move forward with the project even in the face of the current economic downturn, Councilman James Chapman said.
A Bridgeport resident recently asked to be annexed into the City of Cottonwood, Community Development Director George Gehlert reported. The property owner has a goal of opening a bed and breakfast.
Gehlert told the council that there were approximately 10 to 12 property owners who were interested in being annexed.
Although none of those in favor of annexation showed up for the May 6 meeting, City Attorney Steven Horton advised on the matter and would have to set it for a vote at the next meeting scheduled for Tuesday, May 20.
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