Save the date – public hearing on City finances (CIP bonds) 6/15

Rumor has it that there’s a public meeting on June 15, something to do with the City budget. As Kiffi pointed out, as of today there’s no information available on the City calendar, or anywhere on the website that I could find.

Having been reminded by Jane’s comment that the City Administrator’s Friday Memo of 5/28 indicated that noticed would be published in the Northfield News on the 29th, I searched for “public notice” on the NNews website and came up with this item (typo in date, given as “5-59-10”) about three-quarters of the way down the page:

NOTICE IS HEREBY GIVEN, that the City Council of the City of Northfield, Minnesota will meet on June 15, 2010 at 7:00 p.m. at the City Hall, 801 Washington, Street, Northfield, Minnesota, for the purpose of conducting a public hearing on (a) the intention to issue general obligation capital improvement plan bonds in an amount not to exceed $14,400,000 and (b) the proposal to adopt a capital improvement plan therefor. The proceeds of the will be used to finance various capital improvements within the City pursuant to Minnesota Statutes, Section 475.521.

All persons interested may appear and be heard at the time and place set forth above.

If a petition requesting a vote on the issuance of the bonds is signed by voters equal to 5 percent of the votes cast in the City in the last general election and is filed with the City within 30 days after the public hearing, the bonds may only be issued upon obtaining the approval of the majority of the voters voting on the question of issuing the bonds.

Individuals unable to attend the public hearing can make written comment by writing to Deb Little, City Clerk, City of Northfield, City Hall, 801 Washington Street, Northfield, Minnesota, 55057. Written comments must be received prior to the public hearing.

I’m glad that the Northfield News puts its public notices online; I hadn’t seen that before, so I was curious as to exactly where they get posted. After clicking around a bit I found it under Classifieds | Legals. If you want that information, the onus is on you to go to that page and check it a couple of times a week; no RSS feed or push notification for you!

Anyway, after finding the notice, I went back to the 5/28 Friday memo PDF, where we are told:

As part of the Council decision making progress on financing the facilities projects identified in the 2010 – 2014 Capital Improvement Plan (CIP), the notice for the June 15th public hearing on the capital improvement bonds / capital improvement plan will appear in the Northfield News on Saturday. The ad states “the intention to issue general obligation capital improvement plan bonds in an amount not to exceed $14,400,000.”

Here is how the upper limit for the public safety facilities project was arrived at:

The land acquisition, site prep and construction cost figure was taken from KKE’s report to the Steering Committee last Tuesday and represents the highest cost option listed. A contingency of 8% was added – higher than the minimum recommended by the architect of 5%. Bond issuance costs were added along with capitalized interest. These are also estimated.

It is important to emphasize that the dollar amount stated in the public hearing notice is the maximum, not to exceed amount. The amount of any actual bonds issued in the future will be based upon actual costs / bid awards. It is also important to set the upper threshold high enough to ensure that all project costs are covered. It should also be noted this public hearing notification is required and a necessary step until the Council determines if the projects will be funded through CIP Bonding or hold a referendum on the project financing.

KYMN radio’s news update of May 26 says,

The Northfield city council affirmed its support of the Steering Committee’s recommendation that the Woodley site is preferred for a new fire facility. The council also affirmed the  three southern sites (Cowles, Gleason and Jasnoch) are preferred for a new police station. At its work session on Tuesday, the council discussed preliminary estimates of costs for the projects, with a high-cost range of around $10.6 million and a low-cost range of about $8.6 million. At last night’s meeting, Northfield Community Development Manager Brian O’ Connell said the process is still on track for the council’s June 15th deadline for deciding on a funding strategy for the buildings.

Among all the things that are not clear to me on this subject, one thing stands out: Where did the June 15 deadline come from? Is the Council going to make a decision about the bonds the same night as the public hearing? Inquiring minds want to know.


  1. Griff Wigley said:

    Jeesh, I had no idea, Tracy. Glad you dug for this.

    I guess we’d better discuss this on our show today.

    June 7, 2010
  2. Jane McWilliams said:

    Tracy – I checked with Finance Director Kathleen McBride about the June 15 hearing date. Here’s what she told me:

    “The June 15th public hearing was set within the parameters of being able to go to referendum this fall – if the CIP is not approved or if a successful reverse referendum petition was received.”

    McBride also said there will be ‘more focused public education materials released shortly.” I’m glad to hear this. As you know from my comment on your Wednesday hearing thread, I am concerned that the public have adequate information to make helpful comments at the hearing. I don’t need to tell you how difficult it is to ferret out information on the city’s site. A lot of good information has been distributed at council meetings and elsewhere, but it takes patience to cobble it all together.

    June 7, 2010
  3. Jane McWilliams said:

    That’s good information for the budget, Tracy. Here’s a link which explains the various types of funding for facilities. I think it might be a bit more a propos for June 15.
    Scroll down to find the correct info.

    I see there is finally a notice on the front page about the June 15 hearing!

    June 7, 2010
  4. Tracy Davis said:

    Thanks, Jane. Sorry, didn’t intend to confuse the issue – I’d like to stay on topic for the 6/15 hearing regarding the bonding issue.

    June 7, 2010
  5. kiffi summa said:

    Tracy: The June 15th date has been stated for several months now as the ‘drop-dead’ date for the Council making the finance decision, for the reasons given by Ms. McBride (#2).
    So anyone who has been following this at all should be aware of that date.

    What I find mind boggling is that the Council will vote on this… a HUGE financial impact… on the same night as the ***Public Hearing*** !

    Kind of makes you wonder what the point of a ***Public Hearing*** is, doesn’t it?

    One could certainly make the argument that any councilor who had studied the pertinent information would come to that meeting having decided on the correct way to vote…i.e., what might be said by a citizen that would change their mind at that point?
    Any councilor who goes on a ‘gut reaction’ to a public statement, at that ***Public Hearing***, has probably not done their homework…
    remember there is not yet a definite decision to build WHAT, WHERE!

    I hope the public is getting the picture that the council wants to be authorized to borrow UP TO 14.4 Million dollars for an unspecified building, on an unspecified site.

    I believe that our firefighters MUST have a better space to work from; but this has not been a reasonable process; I don’t care how much the council, and their publicist say it has been.

    From the beginning of this process, every time Ms. McBride has spoken to the council about the financing there has been a big warning about the possibility of a reverse referendum… Well, I do hate to bring up the fact that I happen to know something about the outcomes of that procedure… but to lessen what is almost certain to be serious thread drift, I’ll let that sleeping (bleep) lie…

    Counting votes for the 15th, with Councilor Zweifel not being there (as announced) tends to leave some interesting possibilities, as some councilors flat out said last week that they haven’t decided how to vote, and Ms. Pownell did not declare herself this morning on Wayne Eddy’s show, so at this point it’s not possible to predict a for-certain outcome.

    Summary POV: Personally, I think it was irresponsible to set the ***Public Hearing*** and the vote on the same night …. so much for “improved communications with citizens” !

    June 7, 2010
  6. Kathleen McBride said:


    The CIP Bond approval process requires a vote on the plan at the conclusion of the public hearing. I understand your POV, but it is also important to know that this action doesn’t actually approve a project or actually sell any bonds. It is one step in a longer process.


    June 9, 2010
  7. victor summa said:

    Kathleen McBride, can you give a citation from the statute or otherwise, making it clear the process in 475.521 “requires” a vote by the Council, up or down, at the conclusion of the Public Hearing?

    SEE your comment in number 7

    As I read 475.521 it provides for a limited 30 day period for a citizen petition addressing a question, the petition to be filed with the City … and the said 30 days triggered by the conclusion of the Public Hearing date. Nothing more.

    Subd 3 (a) of 475.521 does provide a series of conditions, most of which are hoops the municipality must to jump through. Timing of a Council vote is not one of these. There’s little reference to a citizen’s powers or role in influencing it’s elected officials.

    In Subd 3 (b) the statute does make it clear the CIP and any annual amendments to it must be approved by the governing body … and it does say “after the public hearing” but it carefully avoids any specific statement of what is meant by “after” … not defining minutes, days or months.

    My conclusion is the right to petition the governing body, is triggered by the public hearing, and the petition, if it occurs, may impact the eventual vote on the CIP by the council. In my opinion, Staff has continually mis-read 475.521, and has mis-implemented the outcome of the provision for a petition.

    Staff’s confusion here centers on its insistence the statute’s there to limit and control the citizens in the expression of their interests in a CIP project. In fact, the statute prescribes the limits and the rigors of the process as these are imposed on the governing body.

    Staff’s role is to serve the elected officials and the citizens … not to direct the goals. If you want that voice, move here, live here and vote here.

    Staff seems to want these Capital Improvements – and inappropriately delves into the politics of the process, opposed to limiting its involvement to the mechanics of implementing the decision. The decision is that of the people as reflected by the elected officials vote representing the people’s choice.

    To provide for the guarantee the citizen’s desires are openly pursued, certain steps must be taken by the staff:

    A public hearing must take place. Galvanized in its challenge by the discourse of the hearing, a petition might by the next “public” step to direct the CIP. The governing body, after objective consideration of all the issues raised by the Hearing process may then at some time …. vote on the question. If the petition is found in the affirmative and requires a vote by the entire community at a general election, the council’s choices then are to reject the CIP, or submit it to the public’s vote.

    Staff has no role here other than to protect the process. Objectivity is vital!

    Disagreeing with your remark in #7. I contend the Council does not and should not vote immediately following the public hearing, Certainly the statute does NOT require a vote at tat time.

    Furthermore I contend staff is obligated to serve the citizens in their effort to prepare and circulate a proper petition. The statute is not here to inhibit the citizen’s process … but to enable it and … to regulate the officials impact.

    No doubt informing the process as to the methods of financing for Council “wants” and community needs … sorting out associated costs, etc … is a Finance Department’s job. But a question remains: why is the finance department determined to direct the discussion as to need?

    A simple example: Collecting for water bills is your concern. The size, siting and color of the water towers is not!

    June 10, 2010
  8. Tracy Davis said:

    I can’t answer the question, “Should the City issue CIP bonds to fund the Safety Center?” until I have a better understanding of the overall fiscal context. Some of this information may already be out there, but documentation is not easy to find, and a summary would be extremely helpful.

    Some of the things I’d like to know are:

    1. How much will a new facility cost? (up to 15% +/- range is okay)

    2. What are the options for reducing the costs? (Separate facilities? Joint powers/services with anyone else?)

    (I don’t think those two questions have been adequately and clearly addressed in the Safety Center process; but that’s a whole ‘nother thing.)

    Further questions:

    3. Should the colleges be pressured to pony up?

    4. How much will the bond increase the taxes on residential property?

    5. How much will it increase the taxes on commercial property?

    6. Where does this project fit into the priorities of the City’s capital improvement needs?

    7. Is it likely that the City will issue bonds for any other projects in the next five years? (Library?)

    These questions should to be answered (with specific reference to any existing information) for citizens to be comfortable with the expenditure at this time, regardless of whether it’s done by referendum or by council vote. I’d love to see something like this in fact-sheet form.

    June 10, 2010
  9. Randy Jennings said:


    Several of your questions were directly addressed in the packet for the council work session on Tuesday night, June 8. See pages 43-56 of the work session packet — — for a detailed discussion of the financial assumptions about the CIP and a summary of the tax impacts of additional bonding on a variety of property types. At a meeting of the project steering committee (of which I am a volunteer member, along with a dozen or so other community folks) this morning, there were several suggestions for simplifying this information and clarifying that there is a significant cost (about $3.2 million) to “doing nothing.” So, the format of the financial summary may change between now and Tuesday, but the underlying information is what you’ve asked for.

    Tomorrow (Friday) afternoon, KKE Architects will post the latest report on the project to serve as the basis for the council review and public hearing next week. They have been working with a very tight timeline, and (I think) they have done a great job preparing a clear description of the projects, design schematics and projected costs. It will be posted here:

    This material will address the factual financial questions you raise. Some of the other questions about costs and services have been addressed by several task forces, architectural and engineering consultants, and council debates, and will be probably be discussed again at the public hearing. In addition to the reports and studies linked to the project website above, various reports going back many years can be found on the Safety Center Task Force project page here:

    June 10, 2010
  10. Jane McWilliams said:

    As I understand it, Tracy, the decision Tuesday is necessitated by the staff and council’s interpretation of the statute – namely, they need to make the decision on June 15 if they want to use CIP bonds, and they want to be able to provide for the possibility that there will be a reverse referendum in November on that decision, . The amount they’re thinking about authorizing (up to $14,400,000), provides for construction costs, land acquisition and prep, and bond issuance costs, according to the public notice in the News. It is permissive, not prescriptive because, as you may know, the council really has no clear idea of what it is they will build for the safely facilities or where these will be.

    Your questions are good ones, and they and others will be part of the council’s deliberations during the next weeks as they get more information from the consultants and staff. If you want to know the tax impact on certain property types of various levels of debt, to to the council work session packet from Tuesday:

    June 10, 2010
  11. Jane McWilliams said:

    Randy – you must have posted your #10 while I was composing #11, some of which is now redundant. Thanks for the reference to the information KKE will post tomorrow.

    What kind of testimony does the council seek? Will it welcome people’s view on what should be built where, as well as whether funding the facilities should be done with CIP bonds?

    June 10, 2010
  12. David Ludescher said:

    Randy: I didn’t recall that there was any legal requirement for the City to do something about the Safety Center.

    For example, if the bond referendum failed, the City wouldn’t have to spend anything. If the City did want to remodel, it could certainly do it for less than this mythical $3.2 million. For that number to be taking seriously, it would have to part of an alternative proposal- which it never has been. That number came from the propoganda supporting a brand new facility.

    A public hearing would only have value if the Council were interested hearing public input. Nothing I have heard to date leads me to suggest that the Council wants to hear public input.

    June 10, 2010
  13. Randy Jennings said:

    The $3.2 million estimate to bring the building up to code and address the mechanical problems and deferred maintenance issues is neither mythical nor the result of “propaganda.” It was calculated on the basis of a thorough study by Wold Architects, which you can read for yourself on the safety center project website. You may wish that there was a “do nothing” option, but the engineers who actually studied the building concluded otherwise.

    I disagree with your cynicism about the value of the public hearing, but since no evidence seems adequate to change your mind, I can understand why you take that position.

    June 10, 2010
  14. kiffi summa said:

    I was not able to attend the steering committee meeting yesterday AM, but I am really questioning Randy’s “volunteer” status as reported in # 10.

    I have NO personal quarrel withy Randy except for the fact that he is hired by the city as the EDA’s publicist and has also, I believe written PR materials for the Safety Center.
    This hardly puts you in an objective position, Randy.

    Two steering meetings back, at the end of the meeting, the architects (KKE) asked the Mayor what they should summarize to the council that
    evening… the Mayor turned to Randy… Randy made a summary to the KKE reps… they turned to the Mayor and said is that OK… the Mayor said Yes…

    Therefor I think it is useless, Randy, to put yourself in a totally objective position on this issue.

    On the entire issue of this ***Public Hearing*** : This is, as I have previously said,IMO, been entirely mismanaged by the Council, as to the process… especially the ‘drop-dead dates’ and the cause for creating those out of ‘fear’ of a reverse referendum.

    The Council should just give it up at this point and admit that they must get their ‘ducks in a row’ … or at least know WHAT they are going to BUILD WHERE… and stop torturing those poor architects!

    AND: remember the inflated numbers for repairs on the Muni if we didn’t build a new one ??? And remember what the actual repairs came in at ???

    WHY, Why, Why do we have to go through processes like this in Northfield?

    Oh… I forgot… it’s because those pesky citizens want to be REALLY communicated with… yeah…

    June 11, 2010
  15. Tracy Davis said:

    Randy (and Jane), thank you for pointing to the information above. If I were a reporter writing about the issue, it would be helpful.

    I seriously doubt that many citizens will take the time and energy to wade through the reams of information in order to find the answers to questions they may not even have fully formulated.

    It would be very helpful if the City would summarize the information and produce a fact sheet or FAQ. It could also help focus the public input by noting the reactions or questions which follow the information provided in the fact sheet; the council would better understand which aspects of this project and/or process are either well-supported, or not supported, by the taxpayers.

    June 11, 2010
  16. Jane McWilliams said:

    Tracy – after the work session Tuesday, I asked Kathleen McBride if she were going to prepare a shorter version of the info she provided at the meeting for the public. She said she would, but that it probably wouldn’t be available until Tuesday.

    I found the backup material for the meeting next week useful for the council, perhaps, but quite confusing to the layman like myself, even though I gave it my best. Your’e right about citizens not fining it very helpful, I fear.

    June 11, 2010
  17. David Ludescher said:

    Randy: I’m suggesting that the $3.2 million isn’t a real number because it isn’t connected with a real alternative. The Council hasn’t directed anyone to study the remodeling alternative (the Minority Report).

    Furthermore, there is a “do nothing” alternative – literally do nothing. I don’t think this is an acceptable alternative (except for the short term). But, it should be explored and weighed against the remodeling and the new build alternatives.

    I don’t want to read the Safety Center reports myself. I know that the Council is making a bad decision based solely upon the fact that they haven’t explored the two most obvious choices.

    I want the Council to be open, honest, and thoughtful about the alternatives. Frankly, they have been none of the above. Any question regarding the prudence of the project gets referred to a report written by some architect hired and directed by the City.

    In the end, building a new building might be the best alternative. But, there is no way to tell because there isn’t another alternative to compare it to. The scare tactic is that we can either have a new building for $10 – $14 million or we can spend $3.2 and get nothing more. At best, that is ignorant; at worst, it is just dishonest.

    June 11, 2010
  18. Kathleen McBride said:


    The Council must take action on the CIP – not simply hold a public hearing. That action is approval of the resolution. If the resolution is not approved by the required 2/3’s majority, then CIP financing can’t be considered. And, if the resolution fails, there’s no need for a petition.


    June 11, 2010
  19. Kathleen McBride said:


    One more comment – this is not staff’s interpretation of the statute. We also rely on bond counsel, city attorney and financial consultants.


    June 11, 2010
  20. Griff Wigley said:

    Library Board Chair Margit Johnson has a letter in today’s Nfld News: Express your opinion on library expansion

    So, too, Northfield could plan for our investments – a new police station in 2011, a new fire hall in 2012, and an expansion to the current library building in 2014. Knowing that these investments are coming in a predictable sequence, like bright kids graduating from high school, we could anticipate borrowing money in a sequenced way. We could insist that our “kids” raise additional outside funding and maintain modest expectations to ensure an affordable outcome.

    At a public hearing on June 15, the City Council may decide how to plan for those investments. They could decide to support funding for the entire five-year Capital Improvement Plan in June.

    June 12, 2010
  21. kiffi summa said:

    Would those who are interested in the facts of this matter please take the short time required to go to the MN statutes, and read 475.521 ?

    It is very short, and seemingly very clear.

    I wonder if the Council has been provided with the numbers, as to limits of CIP bonding, that are required in subd.4 of the statute?

    That would be a useful piece of the puzzle as to how much bonding the community should be expected to support … and it should project the numbers for the entire 5-year Capital Improvement Plan… that would allow people to think about the community needs,and what they wished to vote for, in the broadest picture.

    June 12, 2010
  22. Jane McWilliams said:

    Yes, Tracy. I think that is a new chart.

    What surprises me is that there is no information about the tax impact of various financing scenarios. As you know, there was a good set of charts, etc., at the work session last week:

    Probably these will be part of the presentation on Tuesday.

    Hold on to your hats . . . it is going to be a loooong meeting!

    June 13, 2010
  23. Griff Wigley said:

    It not quite an apples-to-apples comparison but I found this article in today’s Strib to be relevant: Eden Prairie school leaders won’t seek referendum this fall

    Eden Prairie school leaders will not ask residents this fall to pay more taxes for education.

    The cost savings and the stable enrollment, along with concerns about asking for a tax increase while the economy is still recovering, led to the decision to put off a referendum for at least another year, Krull said.

    "As we look at the landscape, I would say the one thing I don’t think is as clear as it could be and I would like to think it will be in a year, is the economy," she said. "I want to make sure if we ask this community to support us, that we’re very sure that we can generate enough support to pass the referendum."

    June 14, 2010
  24. Jane McWilliams said:

    it isn’t relevant in the sense that the levy Eden Prairie was contemplating was for operating costs and they seem to be able to ride out another year. Also, because theirs wasn’t a building project, the current lower construction costs which has been an issue for some of our leaders here is also not a factor in EP and not an perceived advantage in moving forward this year.

    On the other hand, the state of the economy is probably the same there as here. Apparently the EP leaders were concerned about the success of a vote. What we don’t know is whether our leaders will assume that the public agrees with them about the affordability to the taxpayers of the local facilities as set forth in the CIPlan. Regardless of which bonding method they select, the public will have the final say.

    Tough decisions all around!

    June 14, 2010
  25. Griff Wigley said:

    Yes, I agree, it’s different, Jane.  But I think that affordability argument is a weak one for a city, just like it is for a family.

    In another somewhat related article, today’s WSJ: America’s Municipal Debt Racket

    Taxpayers are only slowly realizing that their states and municipalities face long-term obligations that will be increasingly hard to meet. Rick Bookstaber, a senior policy adviser to the Securities and Exchange Commission, recently warned that the muni market has all the characteristics of a crisis that might unfold with "a widespread cascade in defaults." If that painful scenario materializes, it will be because we have too long ignored how some politicians have become addicted to debt.

    June 14, 2010
  26. David Ludescher said:

    Construction costs are low right now and will probably stay low as long as the economy is weak. On the other hand, revenues are weak, and look to be getting weaker. So, from an affordability index, costs of a new Safety Center have never been higher.

    For non-essential capital projects, like the library, it is even more compelling. You don’t see many folks putting additions on their houses when they don’t have enough money to pay the bills. Only a government would think that is a good idea.

    June 14, 2010
  27. kiffi summa said:

    The inappropriateness of having a council vote immediately after a Public Hearing of this magnitude is exacerbated by this line on the first page of the Public Hearing section of the Council packet:
    *”at the close of the public hearing, the council….”

    IMO,This is a specious interpretation of the governing statute, which nowhere says that a vote must be taken “at the close of the public hearing”.
    Statute 475.521, Subd. 3(b) says:” the capital improvement plan and annual amendments to it must be approved by the governing body after public hearing.”
    “AFTER”… not “at the close of”.
    I read that to say it may be any time “after” the public hearing has been held; it certainly does not require it to be IMMEDIATELY ”after’ or “at the close of…”, or it would say that.

    This whole timing which resulted in this date of June 15th was predicated on the possibility of a reverse referendum, and the certainty of a 2010 public vote, if that became necessary by council decision or by citizen referendum.

    The tail, once again, wags the dog…

    June 14, 2010
  28. Griff Wigley said:

    It seems to me that the Council has nothing overtly to lose by scheduling a vote immediately after the public hearing tomorrow night.

    Like Kathleen said, a CIP bonding resolution needs 2/3’s majority to proceed. If it doesn’t get the votes, then the Council can opt for a Nov. referendum.

    If it DOES pass, then it can wait to see if there’s enough signatures to reverse in 30 days. If so, they still have July to November to A) figure out what will be built, when and where; and B) organize a PR campaign to pass it.

    Public hearings like this are not really effective for engaging the public in any substantive deliberation anyway. They’re used in part to judge the level of support/opposition, fulfill a legal requirement, and make citizens feel as though they’re being heard.

    So until we know more, either tomorrow night or mid-July when the reversal time period expires, I don’t see a reason for the Council to really listen.

    June 14, 2010
  29. kiffi summa said:

    Griff: you said: “I don’t see a reason for the Council to really listen”…

    What do you think about that?

    June 15, 2010
  30. Griff Wigley said:

    Kiffi, I’d have preferred the Council put into place a range of ways to engage the public on this issue since receiving the Task Force recommendation last fall. And I’d have preferred to see each councilor be more individually and publicly transparent about their thinking is on the issue and how they got to where they are now.

    That’s what I meant by ‘listening’ (not the other common interpretation of ‘listen’ ie, ‘agree with me/do what I want.’

    If we end up with a CIP bond or a referendum, it seems pretty clear that the Council will be in selling/PR mode, not a listening/engagement mode. Only if it does go to a referendum and if the referendum is defeated is it likely that the Council will then be more open to really engaging the citizenry on this.

    June 15, 2010
  31. David Ludescher said:

    Griff: I agree with your analysis of what the Council is doing. What I don’t understand is why they are taking the course they are. Why even create the potential for a reverse referendum? Perhaps you have some insights.

    June 15, 2010
  32. kiffi summa said:

    David: reverse referendum is not an option, but a direction that statutorily must be open on CIP bonds for public facilities…

    June 15, 2010
  33. David Ludescher said:

    Kiffi: Explain that further… As I understood the process, if the Council decides to proceed without a vote, the voters have the right to request a referendum if certain conditions are met. The Council’s other option is to request a referendum.

    June 15, 2010
  34. Ross Currier said:

    I thought there were three options:
    Referendum bonds – calls for citizen referendum
    Capital Improvement bonds – allows for citizen reverse referendum
    Lease Revenue bonds – no citizen vote
    Or am I confused?

    June 15, 2010
  35. Griff Wigley said:

    The Council just voted 4-2 to include police and fire facilities in the next round of bonding, but not the library. Denison, Pownell, Vohs and Rossing voted yes; Buckheit and Pokorney voted no. Zweifel is out of town.

    June 15, 2010
  36. Griff Wigley said:

    The Council voted 4-2 to NOT pursue a CIP bond; Pownell and Vohs were in favor; Denison, Rossing, Buckheit and Pokorney were against.

    June 15, 2010
  37. Ross Currier said:

    So…does that mean they’re going with a Referendum bond or a Revenue bond? Referendum in November or not?

    June 15, 2010
  38. Griff Wigley said:

    The Council voted 4-2 to have a referendum on the police/fire facilities this fall.

    Denison, Pownell, Vohs and Rossing voted in favor; Buckheit and Pokorney voted against it.

    June 15, 2010
  39. Tracy Davis said:

    I’m watching the meeting and the public hearing, and there was some confusion about whether the public hearing was for taking public comment about CIP bonds, or whether it was for public comment on *all* financing options (which the Mayor, City Administrator, and City Attorney said it was).

    I don’t understand how it could have been a public hearing on or about “all financing options” when the original notice gave the purpose of the hearing as,

    (a) the intention to issue general obligation capital improvement plan bonds in an amount not to exceed $14,400,000 and (b) the proposal to adopt a capital improvement plan therefor.

    Emphasis mine.

    Nowhere does this meeting notice talk about “other financing options”. Apparently there were a few people in the audience who also didn’t understand that either as Mayor Rossing was handed comment cards during the discussion.

    June 15, 2010
  40. kiffi summa said:

    Tracy: the meeting was extremely confusing as the public notice and the packet were somewhat in conflict as to purpose… and if Jane Mc Williams is confused about the sequence of events… then everyone has a right to be.

    Part of the confusion was that 9b had two parts, 1 and 2, and they were not sufficiently delineated for the audience to know where the council was at that point. and of course since the discussion of these facilities and their financing is all so intertwined, it is VERY difficult to run the meeting in a clear manner.

    The Mayor tried…

    A major confusion for the watching public that did not have a packet in hand was, I’m sure, that the resolution in the packet,I think it would have been part c of item 9, was not needed since it was to approve the CIP plan as limited to these projects (not the full CIP plan as approved last November) but since the council voted to go to referendum rather than issue CIP bonds, that resolution became unnecessary.

    I could hardly follow that part of the meeting with a packet in hand, so I’m sure it was close to impossible for those watching at home.

    There was no public comment taken on parts b1, b2 or c of Item 9 (9a being the actual public hearing) as the Mayor directed and thought it was understood, that all comments for all parts of item 9 would be taken at the first part(9a) , the public hearing.

    Very confusing…

    June 15, 2010
  41. David Ludescher said:

    Griff: At a Chamber meeting today, I was advised that the Council voted in favor of having a referendum for capital expenditures without an amount or a purpose.

    June 16, 2010
  42. Griff Wigley said:

    David, my understanding is that they did decide that the referendum will be for police and fire facilities only, not to exceed $14.4M. We don’t know yet where the facilities will be.

    June 16, 2010
  43. norman butler said:

    Can anyone explain in plain English what happened last night; ie the outcome?

    June 16, 2010
  44. Ross Currier said:

    As I’ve said so often, I only know what I read in the Northfield News: “the Northfield City Council voted 4-2 to use referendum bonds to finance separate police and fire stations”.

    Based on my personal interpretation of the News article as to what it means for Northfield citizens: look for the referendum on your November ballot.

    June 16, 2010
  45. David Ludescher said:

    Norman: Don’t you think an aspiring City Council member should explain it to us?

    June 16, 2010

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