• Council will tackle weighty issues Tuesday
BROOKINGS – The Brookings City Council will be asked Tuesday to help the Boys & Girls Club secure a $515,000 grant for its expansion.
That’s just one of the items among nearly a dozen critical issues the council will consider at its semi-monthly session.
Scheduled for discussion and/or votes are the final 2013 city budget, a bid award for the airport project, a memorandum of understanding regarding a hotel and convention facility at the Swiftel Center and – ready or not – snow removal fines.
The city’s involvement with the Boys & Girls Club of Brookings project will be only as a “pass-through” sponsor, though, since the HUD Community Development Block Grant the club is seeking must be awarded directly to a municipality or county.
According to information presented to council, the Boys & Girls Club has run out of space and plans to expand its current 34,400-square-foot facility by another 20,000 to 25,000 square feet.
If it’s secured, the $515,000 block grant would be applied to the $2.5 million cost of the expansion project. The Boys & Girls Club board plans a fundraising campaign that would create a $1.5 million endowment fund for future operating expenses of the program.
Although the city continues to support the Boys & Girls Club program financially, in this instance the city would have no responsibility other than as a conduit for the block grant funds, if granted.
The council has held four budget workshops preparing the 2013 budget and establishing a five-year capital improvement plan for community projects, and both will be put to a final vote Tuesday.
The general fund of the budget, which finances most of the daily operations of city core services, has been set at $14.98 million for 2013. It’s a balanced budget, with revenues equaling expenses. The new spending plan is about $1.8 million less than the current year’s budget.
The capital improvement plan, while non-binding, is a five-year planning tool that itemizes the year the city intends to purchase major items or start projects, plus their costs and revenue streams. Such items include property acquisition, heavy equipment, building and structural facilities, infrastructure, and major mechanical items throughout all departments.
The council will authorize a half-million-dollar expenditure this week when it is expected to adopt a resolution regarding the 2013 reconstruction of U.S. Highway 14 in Brookings from west of Western Avenue to Main Avenue.
Although the rebuilding will be paid for by the state, the city will take advantage of the torn-up street to upgrade water and sanitary sewer lines under the highway.
The city’s share of the project is expected to cost approximately $521,000.
Still another major construction project the council will act on Tuesday is the airport runway reconstruction.
Although the Phase I site work was expected to cost more than $7 million, the lowest bid came in nearly a third below that. The council is expected to award the contract to Loiseau Construction of Flandreau, whose total bid was $4.75 million.
Another important item the council will consider this week is the adoption of a memorandum of understanding with the Hegg Companies and Prairieland Partners. The agreement would permit city officials to begin negotiations with developers who want to build a 100-room hotel and attached convention center at the Swiftel site.
If the parties can reach agreement on financial terms, the developers would like to begin construction on the hotel complex by spring 2013.
The councilors will accept a gift this week, too, from the developers of the Valley View neighborhood. Blairhill Properties will convey a parcel of land to the city for the creation of a neighborhood park.
And finally … Snow time is just around the corner, and mindful of that, the city council is considering lowering the fine for those who fail to tend to their snow removal chores. What had been a $60 fine with $60 court costs is being lopped to a $20 fine with $60 court costs. City staff feel an $80 penalty for failure to remove snow from sidewalks is a fairer number.
Council sessions, open to the public, begin at 6 p.m. in Chambers (Room 310) of the Brookings City and County Government Center, 520 Third St.
Contact Ken Curley at kcurley@-brookingsregister.com.