Dexter Approves Bond Issuance for New City Offices

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By Doug Marrin, STN Reporter

At its May 24 meeting, the Dexter City Council completed its next step in procuring new city offices by approving a resolution that authorizes the issuance of capital improvement bonds to purchase 3515 Broad Street.

“I really hope that we're going to embrace this opportunity tonight,” Mayor Keough told the Council. This is a this is a huge, huge opportunity for us.”

The 3515 Broad St. complex consists of the main building of 11,482 square feet and an outbuilding of 2,106 square feet with approximately 30 on-site parking spaces. The list price for the property is $1,986,000.

Interim City Manager Justin Breyer shared some good news regarding the list price. “We suggested a price reduction request based on the architects’ report and building inspection report,” he told the Council. “The sellers countered with an $80,000 price reduction, bringing the list price down to $1,906,000.”

The bond amount is $2,500,000 to cover necessary improvements such as the installation of an elevator. The bond has a 20-year payback with early repayment possible as early as 2032.

The approval didn’t come easy. The Council spent an hour discussing its opposing viewpoints.

Councilmember Griffin laid out a case for putting the brakes on 3515 Broad St. and combining a new fire station and city offices into one location at the City’s property on the corner of Ann Arbor St. and Meadowview.

“I think there's a lot of appeal to a combined municipal building at the Meadowview property,” said Griffin. “I think there would be some fiscal efficiencies there. We wouldn't be maintaining two sets of grounds. We won't be maintaining two buildings. There's the potential for shared spaces between the users in that building.”

Mayor Keough responded, saying, “In the last 60 days or so since we've talked about this project, there have been more people that have told me, ‘You guys have finally figured it out,’ than I have ever heard on this topic on any location.”

“I think we need to keep going with this,” added Keough. “This is a really good opportunity.”

Councilmember Michels broached two concerns. The first was that the 3515 Broad St. property was contrary to past council conversations on new city offices. Among other things, he pointed out the proposed facility was much larger than required. Michels also reminded the Council of its desire to have the offices downtown.

Michels also summarized public input from two meetings on facilities that took place in 2019. “The public input that was provided encouraged City Council to find options for both city offices and fire station and then bring those options back before the public comment,” said Michels. “Somehow, we have forgotten the feedback from our constituents.”

Mayor Keough asked the group if anyone had received negative feedback on the idea of new city offices at 3515 Broad. Councilmember Griffin relayed that a survey conducted during her campaign for a seat on the council reflected that some residents didn’t feel there was a need for new offices.

Councilmember Hubbard cut through the dialogue with her frustration over the Council’s balk right at a critical moment in moving forward. “This is what people complain about,” said Hubbard. “What are we doing? There's not a perfect solution. We’ve just got to get something done.”

Adding on to Hubbard’s comment, Councilmember Cousins said, “We've examined, I think, over 18 sites in the city now. Some, we could have purchased and put the fire hall and city hall there if we had the leadership and the willingness to do it. But we keep waiting and waiting and delay. The architects warned us the prices would be going up. And now, it’s going to cost us three million more.”

Hubbard encouraged the Council to move forward, saying, “Let’s take this off the list and do something for the community. Then, can we immediately dive into the fire station issue. But, unfortunately, we can't get to the fire station issue because we're sitting here fighting.”

“This committee has been held hostage by this fire station for many, many years,” replied Cousins.

“But we have the chance to change that right now,” countered Wa.

When the vote came, Keough, Michels, Cousins, Fisher, and Hubbard voted in favor. Councilmember Griffin voted against it.

Photos courtesy of Swisher Realty

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