Pella City Council received advice regarding the future of funding for several facilities projects during policy and planning at their meeting tonight.
A proposal called the “base plan” by Pella City Administrator Mike Nardini would put in place a $45 million plan that would include a new recreation facility, renovations to the current Pella Community Center and the extension of University Street. Ultimately, the city’s financial adviser estimates that this could be accomplished with a local government contribution of $22 million – of which $17 million would come from expanding the sales and services tax of local option, which will expire in December 2023.
This would assume that an additional $23 million (or more) would be contributed by other government entities and private donations. A $45 million proposal would not raise property taxes, according to a financial analysis by the City of Pella’s financial adviser, Michael Maloney of DA Davidson. In addition, annual operating costs will likely be offset by modest growth in population and tax revenue over the next 20 years. If the Pella City Council wishes to improve the projects further, it could raise property taxes or generate additional private support or resources from other government agencies. An additional $2.85 million in debt service revenue could be generated by 0.25 cents on the levy. (SEE FULL PRESENTATION HERE)
Mayor Don DeWaard believes the $45 million investment is the start of what could be accomplished. He announced that major local businesses have pledged $12 million to impact the entire project for the proposed recreation center, Pella Community Center improvements and University Street extension. This commitment will reduce the estimated $23 million in private or other government agency contributions needed to operate the entire project. DeWaard is confident the city will receive additional support from other agencies and public councils.
DeWaard is also offering a citizens’ group to help guide project engineers and designers for consideration by council at the Tuesday, May 3, meeting. A sales tax referendum could be on the ballot as early as mid-September, to be approved by council by July. Prior to that, Nardini told the board that it would need to determine the final scope of any proposed projects. Nardini says the city administration, with the approval of council, will also have further discussions with the Friends of the Pella Community Center and the Pella Dog Park Association, as well as a request for funding from the State of Iowa and draft proposals for the Marion County Board of Supervisors and Pella School Board.
On a project-by-project basis, City Administrator Mike Nardini narrowed down the options before council for consideration – the Pella Community Center was estimated at between $5.5 million and $22 million for varying levels of renovation to the current Union Street facility . A project proposed by the Friends of the Community Center is reported to cost $17.7 million, with the nonprofit seeking to match up to $5 million.
A recreation facility proposed by the City of Pella built adjacent to Pella Sports Park would cost $30 million to $50 million for a 75,000 to 125,000 square foot facility. This project would also include the extension of University Street and Baseline Drive, including a walking path that could connect to Caldwell Park – with an estimated price tag of $6 million. One option would be moving the Pella Soccer Complex to Pella Sports Park, which would cost around $2.8 million.
Another facility proposal included a location for the much-discussed Pella Dog Park, which could also be placed near the current Pella Sports Park, off Baseline Drive, however, no official decision has yet been made. been taken about it. The cost would be $472,000 for the entire project, with the Pella Dog Park Association covering up to $200,000 over the course of the entire project.