City of Wyoming can buy vacant building for $865,000
Wyoming City Council has set 7 p.m., Tuesday, June 26 as the public hearing date to consider comments from residents about a possible sale of capital improvement bonds to purchase of The RiverBank building for conversion to a municipal building.
Council on Tuesday, June 5 unanimously agreed to the date. This is not a regular council meeting night, but Council member Joe Zerwas said it made more sense than Tuesday, July 3.
At its June 19 meeting the council will have cost estimates for renovation of the city hall for public-safety space available for review. The targeted total price for purchase, renovations and remodeling is $2 million.
Under the proposed plan, the city would relocte the police department from its current home in the former Wyoming Town Hall complex to the current city hall building which would need remodeling. The fire hall would remain at its current location
Prior to consideration of the bank building purchase, the most recent serious discussion about a new city hall was in 2003. Planning for the Giese Memorial Library considered a combined building, but a stand-alone library was the final decision.
Similar discussions about financing occurred at that time.
Former City Administrator Dennis Coryell compiled information about the need for an expanded city hall. “Space needs have become even more critical,” he said at that time. He addressed lack of office space and storage, no record retention space, and a council chamber that is too small, and no place to hold larger meetings.
The relocation of the council chambers to the community room has alleviated some of the space problems, but not acoustics.
In 2003, the estimate to build an annex to the city hall was $1.85 million. Interest rates at the time were between 4.8 and 5.1 percent.
City Administrator Craig Mattson reviewed some of the costs. The original construction cost of the now vacant bank building was $1,412,675 and the land cost was $680,000 for a total project cost of $2,092,675, prior to construction of parking lots, landscaping and furnishing.
The bank was a $2.5 million venture that the city can purchase fully furnished for $833,000, or less than one-third of its original cost, Mattson said.
The only remodeling cost at the bank building is an estimated $75,000 to convert open area into a council chambers with dias and spectator seating.
As for financial impact, Mattson said the financial projections on tax impact to homes with the purchase and renovations would be about $35 a year for a home with $200,000 market value. Bonds would likely have a 20-year term.
Interest rates are about 3 percent and may lower, according to Mattson.
Mattson could not comment on the commercial tax impact because he did not have detailed information. He said the city has about 7,900 residents in 2,745 homes. There are fewer than 100 businesses.
“We cater to the needs and concerns of the residents in the long run,” Mattson said.
Pat Poshek, a commercial appraiser for Chisago County, confirmed the appraised value of the building at $865,000. It was hard to peg down the exact impact on commercial property, he said. He said the effective tax rate for residents and commercial property is the result of overlapping county property taxes, city taxes and school district taxes.
Home owners pay about 1.5 percent tax rate. The business rate is 4 percent.
At the open forum there were concerns voiced about the tax revenue lost to the city if the RiverBank building no longer generates commercial taxes. Poshek identified the lost property tax to the city if the building comes off the tax rolls.
In 2012, the two lots that make up the parcel will generate about $43,000 in taxes. Wyoming’s portion of that is 23 percent or about $11,100.
Some individuals spoke in opposition to the city even considering purchase of the bank building; there were some who were spoke in support of the move during the open forum.