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Commissioners Ok Bond In May

If voters say yes, $10 million would go toward building upgrades

Polk County's budget committee began hearings on Monday

Polk County's budget committee began hearings on Monday Photo by Jolene Guzman.

POLK COUNTY — Voters will be asked to decide whether to provide $10 million to the county for repairs and maintenance at several facilities in the May 16 election.

County Facilities Maintenance Bond

How much: $10 million.

How long: 10 years.

How much will it cost? About 22 cents per $1,000 of assessed value on properties in the first year. Over the life of the bond, less than 20 cents per $1,000.

What it would it fix:

• Historic courthouse — exterior repair; window replacement; ADA-compliant restrooms; roof repair; carpet replacement, wood replacement or repair; other ADA repairs; and HVAC upgrades.

Cost: $2.8 million.

• Courthouse annex — exterior repair; window replacement; ADA upgrades; elevator replacement; new roof; carpet replacement; HVAC upgrades; and repairs to sidewalks, parking lot, courthouse lawn.

Cost: $3.7 million.

• Courthouse complex (security/safety) — security camera upgrades; emergency generator relocation; entry door replacement; and minor seismic upgrades.

Cost: $500,000.

• Polk County Jail — roof replacement and minor repairs.

Cost: $450,000.

• Academy Building — parking lot repair, sidewalks and landscaping.

Cost: $150,000.

• Public Works — Interior remodel; safety upgrades; exterior repairs; and HVAC replacement.

Cost: $500,000.

• Fairgrounds & Event Center (Main building) — roof replacement; floor replacement; exterior repair; ADA-compliant restrooms; kitchen upgrades; concrete repairs; and concession area repairs.

Cost: $1.1 million.

• Fairgrounds & Event Center (parking/walk paths) — pathway replacement; asphalt overlays; drainage upgrades; and expansion of asphalt.

Cost: $400,000.

• Contingency: $400,000.

The Polk County Board of Commissioners approved the 10-year, $10 million bond for the ballot on Feb. 15 after two sparsely attended public hearings — four citizens attended the two meetings.

“It is a facilities maintenance bond; it’s not a new construction bond. We would address facilities needs at the courthouse complex, the two buildings,” said County Administrator Greg Hansen. “We will also address needs at our jail, at the Academy Building, public works and our fairgrounds facilities. At the fairgrounds, we’ve identified the main building as the building most in need of restoration and upgrades.”

The $10 million figure is based on a facilities analysis conducted in 2016.

“Does this bond address all county needs? No, but it addresses a good portion of those. I would say for this complex (historic courthouse and annex), it would address all of our needs,” Hansen said. “The only public facility that would be sorely lacking would be the fairgrounds facility.”

He said two members of the public offered testimony at the public hearing the morning of Feb. 15, urging the county to ask for more money to address needs at the fairgrounds and avoid the potential of having to increase taxes in 10 years if the county needed a more expensive bond.

“That’s a rarity when you are having a public hearing on a bond,” Hansen said.

The proposed bond would cost taxpayers 22 cents per $1,000 of assessed value on properties the first year. It would dedicate $1.5 million to the fairgrounds, with most it being spent on the repairs and upgrades to the main building.

“This replaces our road bond,” Hansen said “The last assessed value cost associated with that was 52 cents per $1,000. This would be roughly a reduction of 30 cents per $1,000.”

In the end, the board decided not to follow of the advice of those asking to spend more at the fairgrounds.

Commissioner Jennifer Wheeler made a motion to place the bond on the May 16 ballot and it was approved unanimously.

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