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CITY COUNCIL 10/30/17 (Build America Bonds, City Health Insurance, Friends of the Park, Fire Ext. Training Materials, 3rd Street Community Garden, Harvest Properties, Police Chief & Dispatcher Hires)

Chillicothe City Council members on Monday authorized the city to proceed with refinancing the remainder of the Build America Bonds that were issued in 2010 for expanding the Chillicothe Fire Department building. The refinancing, which would carry a 2.85 percent interest rate, is projected to save the city approximately $250,000 for the remainder of the loan. Sam McDonald, of McLiney & Company, was present at Monday night's City Council meeting and explained the process and interest rate. After discussions, the council first approved authorizing the city to proceed with refinancing and then approved the city to enter into an agreement with McLiney & Company to handle the refinancing. An ordinance concerning the matter will be brought back to the council at a later date for final approval. The city utilized $1.8 million in bonds with a starting interest rate of 1.75 percent in 2011. According to the debt service schedule that was approved at the time of bond issuance, the interest rate would continue increasing throughout the term of the loan, which would mature in 2031. The schedule also reflected an annual government financial subsidy. That subsidy began at $34,000 for the first full year but is scheduled to continually decline until maturity. The 2017 interest rate is 4.2 percent and the schedule calls for the rate to continue increasing to 6.8 percent by 2027 and remain at that level until the final bond payment in 2031. According to the schedule, the city is to receive about a $31,000 subsidy this year (on an approximate $89,000 loan payment). The schedule reflects a continual drop in the subsidy to the point of about $8,000 in 2030 and $3,451 in 2031. The loan for refinancing the Build America Bonds will mature in 2031.

Refinancing the bonds was among several items up for discussion Monday night, including a request for a physical activity station for senior citizens in one of the parks. Josh Norris, director of parks and recreation, stated that the park board had discussed this idea in prior years and that recently the Livingston County Health Center approached him with the request to establish a station in one of the parks. The station, according to the health center, contributes to a senior's motion, strength, posture, balance and coordination, while reducing the risk of falls and increasing overall fitness abilities. The health center proposed placing the system at Danner Park where there is less traffic than Simpson Park. Norris proposed putting stations up along the walking trail. The council on Monday gave approval for the health center to seek funding opportunities for the stations.

Norris also discussed the donation of funds for a gazebo to be placed at Danner Park. A citizen had provided $20,000 for a gazebo to be placed along Highway 65; however, a suitable location at Simpson Park was not available, Norris said. That citizen has since passed away and the trustee overseeing the fund has agreed that a memorial gazebo would be acceptable at Danner Park. The cost of materials is expected to be around $3,000, plus labor. The remaining funds would be set aside for future maintenance expenses.

During the meeting, the council also approved an ordinance regarding the purchase of laser driven fire extinguisher training materials from Bullex in the amount of $19,306.

The council also approved an ordinance authorizing an easement to Harvest Properties. The easement involves a road around the city's waste water plant and up north to the underpass under the railroad. There currently is an existing easement from the city; however, the new easement more clearly defines the easement and has a surveyed road description.

In other business on Monday, the council:

  • Declared certain items surplus;

  • Approved an ordinance updating the Food Codes to the current national code; and

  • Heard a request from a citizen for the city to continue allowing for a community garden on Third Street.

The concept for a community garden got renewed support from Chillicothe City Council members Monday night after hearing about a citizen-based effort to develop the garden once again but with more accountability to ensure that the garden is maintained and does not become an eyesore. The community garden was first developed near the northwest corner of the old prison property on the south side of Third Street. The garden was in operation for a couple years but was not maintained this past growing season. City Council members last month ordered the garden to be mowed. Chillicothe resident Ann McGuire approached the council Monday night asking the city to once again consider the garden, stating that it is a good thing if run correctly and maintained. She noted that the individual who had been responsible for the garden in previous years became unable to provide the necessary maintenance. McGuire said that she has received approval for grant money and seeds to help develop the garden and has received commitments from an individual who would till the garden and another who would provide mowing services. She also said that the Girl Scouts have expressed interest in helping maintain the garden. McGuire asked the city to give her group permission to maintain the garden for one year; and, if after one year the garden meets the city's expectations, provide wood chips to help with weed control. She said that she would like the garden to have 10 plots with each one to be assigned to individual who would commit to maintaining that plot. She said that she has already received commitments from six individuals. Council members were receptive to the new plan and granted her permission to operate a garden at the new site for a year. They did, however, state that the old prison property is for sale and that it could be sold at any time. They also stated that garden would need to be moved toward the back of the lot, noting the possibility of future development.

An executive session, closed to the public, followed the regular meeting.

1) Council members voted to hire a seventh dispatcher for the Chillicothe Police Department. The department has been operating with a total of six dispatchers for quite some time. The additional dispatcher will allow for decreased overtime costs, increased ability to cover sick days and vacations, alleviate dispatcher burnout, and reduce employee turnover, according to City Administrator Darin Chappell. The individual hired for the position is Ellie Shirley of Mooresville. She is expected to begin duties in mid-November.

2) The candidate pool for the next Chillicothe police chief has been narrowed, and City Administrator Darin Chappell anticipates that an announcement of the final selection will be made this week. Chillicothe City Council members discussed the position during executive session Monday evening at City Hall. The police chief vacancy was created by former Chief Rick Knouse who retired in September after 40 years with the department. [Jon C. Maples, a five-year veteran of the Chillicothe Police Department, was named department chief following a 4-0 vote during an executive meeting of the Chillicothe City Council Thursday afternoon, November 2, 2017. City Administrator Darin Chappell announced the pending appointment Friday morning, November 3. The official transition date is yet to be determined, but should soon take effect, Chappell said.]

A workshop meeting was held prior to the regular meeting at which time council members discussed health insurance and the refinancing of the Build America Bonds.

City to Consider Refinancing for Lower Rate
By CATHERINE STORTZ RIPLEY

Chillicothe City Council members will meet tonight and consider refinancing the remainder of the Build America Bonds that were issued in 2010 for expanding the Chillicothe Fire Department building. This option will be discussed as a way to save a projected $190,000 through a lower interest rate for the remainder of the loan. The topic will be brought up during the council's workshop at 5:30 p.m. in the conference room at City Hall and then discussed again during the regular council meeting which begins at 6:30 p.m. in the Council Chambers. The city utilized $1.8 million in bonds with a starting interest rate of 1.75 percent. According to the debt service schedule that was approved at the time of bond issuance, the interest rate would continue increasing throughout the term of the loan, which would mature in 2031. The schedule also reflected an annual government financial subsidy. That subsidy began at $34,000 for the first full year but is scheduled to continually decline until maturity. The 2017 interest rate is 4.2 percent, and the schedule calls for the rate to continue increasing to 6.8 percent by 2027 and remain at that level until the final bond payment in 2031. According to the schedule, the city is to receive about a $31,000 subsidy this year (on an approximate $89,000 loan payment). The schedule reflects a continual drop in the subsidy to the point of about $8,000 in 2030 and $3,451 in 2031. Refinancing the bonds is among several items up for discussion tonight.

City officials will also discuss health insurance during the workshop meeting. The city currently is surveying employees about health insurance opinions, their experience and satisfaction with the city's provider, consideration of changes they'd like to see, satisfaction of prescription benefits, acceptable steps that could be taken to reduce premium increases, and other areas.

During the regular meeting, Parks Director Josh Norris will discuss a proposal to form a Friends of the Parks organization that could be utilized for fund-raising efforts for specific projects. The organization would apply for a 501(c)3 non-profit status. Norris will also lead discussion regarding a request for a motion wellness system which would be a physical activity station for senior citizens in one of the parks. The idea was first brought up for discussion by the Livingston County Health Center The systems, according to the health center, contribute to a senior's motion, strength, posture, balance and coordination, while reducing the risk of falls and increasing overall fitness abilities. The health center proposes placing the system at Danner Park, where there is less traffic than Simpson Park, and would seek grant funds from the American Academy of Dermatology to be used to establish shade. Norris will also discuss the donation of a gazebo to be placed at Danner Park. A citizen had provided money for a gazebo at Simpson Park; however, a suitable location was not available. That citizen has since passed away, and the trustee overseeing the fund has agreed that a memorial gazebo would be acceptable at Danner Park.

During the regular meeting, the council will consider an ordinance regarding the purchase of laser driven fire extinguisher training materials from Bullex in the amount of $19,306.

The council will also hear a request from a citizen for the city to continue allowing for a community garden on Third Street. The garden had been in existence for a few years but was ordered this past summer to be mowed because it was not maintained. City Administrator Darin Chappell said that an individual has approached the city wanting to revitalize the program.

Also tonight, the council will consider an ordinance authorizing an easement to Harvest Properties. The easement involves a road around the city's waste water plant and up north to the underpass under the railroad. There currently is an existing easement from the city; however, the council will consider a new easement that more clearly defines the easement and has a surveyed road description.

The council tonight also plans to declare certain items surplus and consider an ordinance regarding food codes. An executive session, closed to the public, is expected to follow the regular meeting.

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