BID board has plan in place

By Jeff Smith

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Brett McMacken, city administrator for Hill City,  started off the Business Improvement District (BID) meeting on Dec. 21 saying that the board didn’t have to vote on a project, but when they are ready, they need to put together a report for the Hill City common council.

A resolution of intent was already created ahead of the meeting by McMacken which fleshes out the overall project, cost, and how it will be funded.

“The document in front of you is not perfect. I don’t feel like it’s a final, ready-to-be-voted on document,” McMacken said.

The board members decided to approve to move the resolution of intent with the estimated cost and proposed improvements to city council for their blessing.

There was much discussion about what they wanted to send to the city council and if they wanted to send the full resolution of intent.

McMacken will talk to the city attorney on the resolution and share the recommendation to adopt the resolution with the city council. McMacken said they will get approval to put the BID into action by the city council and then they need to create architectural plans before finalizing it. Throughout the entire process they will be polishing it and getting it to where it needs to be.

The city council can officially adopt the resolution in the Jan. 8 meeting.

The first part of the resolution of intent is mostly fluff with the history of the BID Board. This also explains that they are meeting all of the state requirements.

There are two pages that explain the proposed improvements and estimated cost. The estimated cost is $400,000.

There are six improvements that are wanted by the BID Board. They are the public restrooms/senior center addition, removal of Lewis Park restrooms, racquetball court and tennis court fencing, relocation of the old log building by the Hill City Senior Center, welcome signage, asphalting alley and tennis courts, and finally, the Main Street to restroom walkway.

They estimate there would be $20,000 in professional fees too.

A big change that will need to be changed in the document is the funding mechanism. They were originally set on a general obligation bond. As McMacken dove deeper into state statutes he found the general obligation bond would have to be approved by a public vote. The bond would be paid back through the full faith of the city. Municipalities essentially back the bond and obligated to make payments on the bonds.

McMacken’s research brought him to thinking a revenue bond would be better. Through a revenue bond they are specifically budgeting for money that is coming through a specific revenue source. In the case of the Hill City BID Board it would be an occupancy tax of $2 per room per night in Hill City.

There are going to be more changes with the resolution and the city council will be allowed to tweak what they want, too.

McMacken will also create a timeline of what happens next with the project.

BID Board member Dennis Krull said the board is not meant to be an administrative board for the project but an advisory board. The proposed improvements and estimated costs are the extent of what the board is required to do.

Krull said the city council will set the public hearing and get the project going. The city council can then come and ask the BID Board for advice.

BID Board member Shane Schriner asked what happens when the project costs balloon up to more than what they are expecting.

McMacken said there is not a clear answer if something comes up and they want to eliminate something which would change the cost. He said there is a provision in the code that allows the council to change the assessment and marry up to the project’s true costs.

The log building that could be moved in the future was also brought up. $15,000 is being allocated for it to be moved under the current project. The Boy Scouts, Lions Club and Hill City Evergreen Garden Club all use the building now. The big grievance from the Lions Club is that the building needs to have electricity for a freezer when it is moved.

Chairperson Eileen Hamm said the Lions Club might be able to work with the Hill City Senior Center to put a freezer somewhere.

BID Board member Chuck Voorhees said it won’t be very difficult to replace the space.

McMacken said it’s important to keep in mind about the move is that there is still plenty of time to come up with a solution as they are not going to be breaking ground an

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