Money envisioned for projects, including buying a building
City will pay itself back with a $5M bond issue, AND how to apply for tourism money.
Four major projects for the City of Clinton will be done or started now that the city council has agreed to a document that allows repayment of costs through the issuance of tax-exempt bonds.
The city expects to issue a bond at a “not to exceed” amount of $5 million, the document says.
When the bond will be issued is not spelled out in the resolution adopted Monday night by the Clinton City Council. The bond will be repaid through property taxes, and the amount is limited by the total assessed evaluation of property in the city.
The money will accomplish, or begin, the four projects spelled out in the resolution. One project, recreation facilities, will cost $4 million in its first phase, and three phases are envisioned. Officials have said the city’s hospitality tax funds will be used to pay for most of the recreation complex.
The city will pay money for the projects as the bonds are issued. Then, from the bond proceeds, the city will repay its reserves from the separate account in which the bond proceeds are held.
With the money, the City of Clinton will:
• Buy an unnamed former bank building in the city; the former Founders location behind the Municipal Center is vacant; the city will buy it for $185,000, council agreed after a 90-minute closed session to discuss several topics;
• Acquire and construct, or re-hab and improve police and fire station facilities; the departments and the city jail now are located in the former city hall on North Broad Street;
• Put a new roof and replace the HVAC in the Municipal Center; cost estimates: $140,000 for HVAC and $70,000 for roof;
• Pay for “City-wide infrastructure enhancements and improvement”; and
• Acquire, construct and equip recreational facilities; the city has land on Hwy 56, near I-26, designated for a recreation complex; City Manager Bill Ed Cannon showed the audience at Monday’s city council meeting a new rendering of the complex, featuring a “cluster” of baseball/softball fields as its centerpiece.
The document adopted by council gives the city a window of 18 months to 3 years to use the bond proceeds to repay city expenses for any or all of these projects.
Cannon said Phase 1 – baseball fields – will include expenses for water and sewer service to the site and a road. Initially, it will be a service road, he said, and will not be finalized with a protective coating until site construction is completed.
“It will have five fields back-to-back and a sixth of a different dimension, a lot of parking and 2.5 miles of walking and bike trails with a mountain bike trail that will come later,” Cannon said. “Multi-purpose fields will be in Phase 2.”
Phase 3 is envisioned to include a 3,000-seat amphitheater.
“It will be a tremendous looking complex,” Cannon said.
The city manager said the complex will be bid in phases, but Mayor Bob McLean suggested bidding the project in its entirety and offering companies and individuals the opportunity for “naming rights.”
That is “very feasible,” Cannon said.
Council Member Ronnie Roth said the city should advertise these bids in a fashion that will catch the attention of local contractors. “We need to give them the opportunity to present.”
At the end of this month, the first part of the recreation complex project will be advertised for bidders, Cannon said.
The city has $4.7 million in its recreation complex/hospitality fund now, Cannon said, and some of that money could be earmarked for a welcome center inside the MS Bailey Municipal Center.
In other business, Cannon pointed the audience’s attention to a sheet outlining the 9% water and sewer rate increase that went into effect Monday – July 1 is the first day of the city’s new fiscal year.
Cannon said several groups now have stepped forward to express interest in having a community center in the former Martha Dendy School building. He suggested council, or its designees, meet with each group that has expressed an interest.
Council authorized the CEDC (Clinton Economic Development Corporation) to seek Santee Cooper money for a third spec building. GE Energy leases the city’s first spec building, and the second is near completion, Cannon said. Four companies have expressed interest and one has offered a letter of intent to buy the building, Cannon said. The two existing buildings and the third, envisioned building are/will be on the Hwy 72 corridor at I-26.
“I hope the state will leave (Santee Cooper) alone. They are the reason the city has been successful with the first building, and with the second building that will be sold soon,” Cannon said. State officials are considering a sale of Santee Cooper, the state-owned, tax-exempt public utility, to a highest-bidder public utility company. Owner of Lakes Marion and Moultrie, Santee Cooper is the feeder system for the state’s electric cooperatives, serving thousands of customers statewide.