City will fund new aquatic center with hospital moneyWORTHINGTON — The Worthington City Council will use $4.5 million of its $21 million in hospital sale proceeds to fund the City of Worthington Aquatic Center.
By: Laura Grevas, Worthington Daily Globe
WORTHINGTON — The Worthington City Council will use $4.5 million of its $21 million in hospital sale proceeds to fund the City of Worthington Aquatic Center.
In a budget meeting Wednesday, council members were split over whether to pay the city’s share of the project outright or continue making annual payments from the tax levy.
Councilman Lyle Ten Haken said he envisioned a plan in which the city would use $4.5 million from hospital proceeds to then levy a certain amount each year into a swimming pool fund.
“At the end of 20 years, we’ll have replenished $3 million into the fund to be used for (pool) repairs and maintenance,” he said. If repairs aren’t needed, that money could be used for another city project.
The final resolution was to pay the $4.5 million out of hospital funds and replenish it through a tax levy of $120,000 a year for 20 years beginning in 2010.
The council also voted to use $1 million in hospital proceeds to pay off a loan from Worthington Public Utilities reserve funds that was used to purchase land in Worthington’s industrial park, located north of Interstate 90. Council members hope to attract businesses to the area with the available land.
“To me, its still an ongoing asset; it’s not expenditure,” said councilman Mike Woll. He said the area’s long-term value to the city makes it a good use of hospital “Legacy Dollars.” There is no current plan to replenish the $1 million that will be spent.
The council also reviewed the city’s $2.6 million public safety budget, questioning Director of Public Safety Mike Cumiskey about line items such as overtime costs, vehicle usage, pension costs and the dog and cat licensing program.
The 2010 police department budget has decreased by about 10 percent from the 2009 budget; while the fire department budget has increased by 15 percent, mostly due to pension actuarials for fire department employees.
Cumiskey reported on the police department’s activities for the past year, mentioning that Worthington still has a lower crime rate than Fairmont and Marshall, even though 19.5 percent of children in Nobles County live in poverty.
“It has a direct relation to what we see in juvenile issues that become adult issues later on,” he said. “Poverty rates do directly relate to crime rates.”
He also talked about new programs, like the bike patrol program that started this year; and spoke about ways officers have gotten involved in the community outside of their law enforcement duties.
Cumiskey reported that fuel costs and costs to replace some equipment will likely be lower than is budgeted for 2010. The council will continue its budget discussion at 6:30 a.m. Wednesday at City Hall.