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|Paynesville Press - April 28, 2004|
City, township voters reject aquatic park proposal
Voters in the city and township rejected the proposed Paynesville Area Aquatic Park last week at the polls. The ballot measure, necessary to bond for the $1.25 million project, failed in the city by a vote of 381-292 and failed in the township by a vote of 305-257.|
Turnout was good, with roughly half of the registered voters in the city casting ballots and over half of registered voters casting ballots in the township.
Voters rejected the plan to build an outdoor aquatic park - with zero-depth entry area, lap swimming, diving well, and a plunge area for a water slide - on school grounds between the student parking lot at the high school and the armory.
The city and township had proposed building the facility jointly - with costs split on a 62:38 basis, based on the respective populations of the city and township. This meant that the city bond issue was for $775,000 while the township bond issue was for $475,000.
Bonding, like all borrowing, would have included interest expense. The city's estimated bond rate averaged at 4.45 percent over 15 years, while the township's rate averaged at 4.47 percent. Over the 15 years of bonding, the city would have actually paid nearly $1.1 million in interest and principal to bond for the aquatic park (on a $775,000 bond) while the township would pay over $675,000 (on a $475,000 bond).
Tax estimates (based on 15-year bonding) for the city were: $70.42 per year for a $100,000 residential homestead; $88.02 per year for a $125,000 residential homestead; $105.63 per year for a $150,000 residential homestead; $70.42 per year for a $100,000 commercial/industrial property; $352.09 per year for a $500,000 commercial/industrial property; and $633.76 per year for a $900,000 commercial/industrial property.
Tax estimates for the township were: $45.43 per year for a $100,000 residential homestead; $56.79 per year for a $125,000 residential homestead; $68.15 per year for a $150,000 residential homestead; $45.43 per year for a $100,000 commercial/ industrial property; $227.17 per year for a $500,000 commercial/industrial property; and $408.91 per year for a $900,000 commercial/industrial property.
While the facility would have been built jointly by the city and township, it would have been operated solely by the city.
Greg Hansen, co-chair of the aquatic park commitee representing the township, said he was disappointed with the election results but encouraged by the number of people supporting the proposal. "Being that close told me that a lot of people are for it," he said.
Hansen still supports the project. "I still want my kids to swim in that pool," he said. "And I'm not willing to drive to Willmar to do it."
At a city council meeting on Wednesday, May 19, at 6:30 p.m., city leaders, township officials, and pool committee members are expected to discuss options for continuing the project, including alternate means of financing and bringing the proposal to another vote, most likely at the general election in November.
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