Plymouth Color Logo2014Monday evening the Plymouth Common Council conducted a public hearing on the request for additional appropriations for eight funds.

Clerk Treasurer Jeanine Xaver gave the rundown of requests.

In the Law Enforcement Continuing Education Fund the Police Chief asked for $5,000 for ammunition, $3000 for training and up to $5,000 for radar for a total of $13,000.

In the City’s Monetary Gift Fund, last meeting they discussed giving $142,655 to the Aquatics Center.  The Mayor and Council also requested $300,000 for the Permanent Supportive Housing Project, $50,000 for Habitat for Humanity and $10,000 for Stellar Communities.  Xaver said these are all coming out of the General Fund.

The Cumulative Capital Development Fund is made up of City Properties, Aviation and Fire Department. The Clerk Treasures said it’s a cumulative fund to build funds for capital expenses. The airport asked for $50,000 for a new plow truck, the Fire Department asked for $180,000 for an ambulance remount totaling $237,000.

The City Street Department asked for $60,000 to purchase a used bucket truck.  Under City Properties and Maintenance there was a request for $10,000 for cleaning the new city building plus $30,000 for utilities.  The Clerk said the utilities with two floors are considerably higher.

Another additional appropriation was requested for the City Hall Renovation Project.  The clerk received a bill for the release of the retainage and the final payment of the contract totaling $273,000.  She said, “It’s already set aside in the fund but it wasn’t appropriated.”

The final additional appropriation was for the Park Department.  They requested $40,000 for the kayak launch.

Councilman Don Ecker said he agreed with Mr. Miller’s statement at the last city’s meeting considering the $142,655 for the Aquatics Center that is appropriated will deplete the Monetary Gift Fund.  The funds in the fund were placed there as the city’s proceeds from the sale of lots in the Tech Farm, specifically the Early Learning Childhood Center/United Way Community Foundation building.  The funds are to be used to benefit the Tech Farm with reducing the cost of lots, assisting with site prep or infrastructure.  He suggested reducing the amount from $142,655 to $75,000.  A motion proposed by Ecker was seconded by Longanecker but did not pass.

Dave Miller representing VanVactor Development said they are supportive of the request but wanted to comment before moving forward.  He started out going all the way back to 2004 when VanVactors donated 20 acres valued at $500,000 for a Tech Farm. The donation would be the match to secure a $1.5 million dollar grant for infrastructure in the Tech Farm.  He detailed through to 2016 when the city received $110,000 from the sale of 10 acres and then was surprised in 2017 when the Board of Public Works gave $90,000 of it to the pedestrian bridge in the South Gateway at the request of the Marshall County Economic Development Corporation.

Miller said after consideration of the current request, since the money that was available for site work at the beginning wasn’t used and is now needed because of possible cost over runs, some of which related to infrastructure…that the company is ok with the appropriation.

The Council approved all the additional appropriations totaling $1,165,655 by a vote of 4 to 2 with both Don Ecker and randy Longanecker voting against the motion.


Monday evening comments by Dave Miller:

“Our company, Van Vactor Development, is going to support this request, and I’d like to make a couple of comments.  I’ve made many of these comments before, but faces change and it seems some memories are short.

Just as a matter of history, back in 2004 or so, our company offered to donate 20 acres of land (a $500,000 value) to be used as match for a $1.1 million grant from the Federal government to install infrastructure enhancements to the area to be used as a tech park.

Our company had already spent over $2 million dollars of our own money on roads, sewer and water to adjacent land.

Keep in mind this is back when the Redevelopment Commission and City Council didn’t do bonds to finance infrastructure ahead of a development.  They had the attitude of letting the developer pay for the infrastructure and then they would capture the increment of the new value after the fact… A lot different that what they do now, as evidenced by the housing development in the latest TIF.

So anyway, back to our donation…over the planning period, the project turned into a request for 40 acres instead of 20 and we didn’t want to donate 40 but we said we would split the proceeds of the land sales of the 40 acres with an entity that would then reinvest that money back in to the tech park in the form of infrastructure improvements, site development or reduction of the purchase price for buyers of the tech park lots.

By the end of the process, through no fault of our company…since we were not involved in the engineering or construction in any way…the project had cost over runs and the City had to put more money in to the project than they had originally planned.  The then City Attorney suggested that instead of the money from the land sales (our donation) going into a separate entity, that it go into the City and it was agreed that it would go into the only budget line item available at the time to receive gifts…the Monetary Gift Fund overseen by the Board of Public Works.

Because of the recession in 2008, there were no land sales in the tech park for many years until 2016 when a buyer bought 10 acres and we presented a check to the board of works for $111,000.

We thought the money would be held and would be used for the intended use of our donation, but in 2017 MCEDC approached the BOW and requested that $90,000 of that money be used for a pedestrian bridge downtown to offset the apartment developers costs, and much to our surprise, it was granted.

The ensuing discussion between our company and the BOW resulted In November 2017 the Board of Works passing further definition of how the funds would be handled…“the BOW would use its share of land sales proceeds received under the Agreement for improving the infrastructure and assisting with site work in The techFarm or in real estate adjacent thereto and/or such amounts may be waived as an incentive for techFarm lot purchasers.”

So once again imagine our surprise when the Board of Works approves the use of $140,000 to go to the capital campaign of the Aquatics Center for “building upgrades such as scoreboards, etc.”

I started this session off saying  our company was going to support this request and after hearing all this you may be asking why.

I remember having a discussion with Sean back in 2017 when the City was the intermediary for the purchase of the land from us to be used for the daycare and community foundation.  We discussed the fact that it was in the Agreement Area and half the proceeds would be available for site work, etc.

Because of the complexity of the funding of the whole aquatics/daycare project, nothing really happened regarding a decision on the split money.  So here we are in 2019 and then project came up short and had to do a capital campaign.

So in our eyes…the money that was available for site work at the beginning wasn’t used and is now needed because of cost over runs, some of which relate to infrastructure…so we’re ok with it.

What we are not ok with is that this Monetary Gift Fund in the future be used as a fund for any project that needs money.  The Monetary Gift Fund was so named for Gifts coming in to the City…not as gifts going out.

And the availability of these funds for the tech park is important…because as a for profit business we have to compete with PIDCO for land sales…ours priced at market rate to cover our sunk costs and overhead…Pidco’s priced at half of that because it acts as a not for profit.  So being able to offset the price or offer site work money helps us compete.  And the City shouldn’t care because they get the growth and tax money in either case.

So, I know 5 minutes is a long to say we support the request, but we do.  Thanks for your time, and I appreciate you listening.”