Butler County Times Gazette
  • Mayor voices concerns over stadium funding

  • Concerns continue to arise for El Dorado Mayor Mike Fagg when issues regarding water, sewer and trash rates come up.
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  • Concerns continue to arise for El Dorado Mayor Mike Fagg when issues regarding water, sewer and trash rates come up.
    His concern is because the budget for each of these departments contain an amount to go toward the construction costs of the BG Products Veterans Sports Complex, as well as the city manager retirement fund (ICMA).
    The latest concerns came up during the discussions to raise rates in each of these three areas during Monday’s El Dorado City Commission meeting.
    Fagg pointed in the budgets, out of water $65,085.85 goes to the stadium and $40,418 to ICMA; in sewer, $65,085.85 goes to the stadium and $21,062 to ICMA; and in refuge, there is $20,037.05 for the stadium and $18,306 for ICMA.
    “That’s a pretty big part of that number,” he said. “I don’t think they (taxpayers) signed on for the football field is where I’m coming from.”
    Fagg said Llewellyn and others belong to the ICMA, which is a retirement plan the city is funding.
    “A lot of these people are getting KPERS plus this on top of that,” he said.
    Commissioner Bill Young said that did not take away from the fact the city hasn’t had a rate increase in eight years.
    “We are faced with this challenge because costs go up,” he said. “I don’t want the public to tie this back to suddenly after eight years we have to have a rate increase because of ICMA. We have gone longer than most communities around without a rate increase. This is the smallest increase possible.”
    “This is the third item that we’ve had for rate increases,” Fagg said, referring to the discussions Monday on increasing rates. “I know items go up. If we could cut those out of there, I would feel totally different with them.”
    City Manager Herb Llewellyn asked Fagg how he would pay for those commitments then.
    Fagg said he questioned if they needed ICMA.
    On the football payment, I would almost be willing to have a good discussion to take that to a vote of the people,” he said.
    He preferred using a general obligation bond for payment of the city’s one-third of the cost of the stadium, which totaled about $3 million.
    Or he recommended taking it out of economic development.
    When the commission originally discussed funding the stadium, there was a question of if the mill levy would be increased to fund it.
    “We have some other pots we could take it out of,” Llewellyn said during a meeting in February 2011, mentioning economic development and tourism.
    Page 2 of 2 - He continued at that meeting by saying, “The driving factors I’ve heard from this is economic development and tourism. You’re going to strap those funds, so if a company came and you wanted to give them money or spend money on something you would have to go GO (general obligation bonds).”
    He said they also levy a mill that is discretionary to the commission. To finance the project, the city was considering a 20-year term.
    Monday evening Llewellyn pointed out they do not need the vote of the people to do a GO bond.
    “The commission did what they did because they didn’t want to raise the mill levy,” Llewellyn said.
    Fagg questioned why they didn’t want to take the lower interest rate.
    GO bonds would have been 1 percent less than the 4 percent they are now paying.
    “The question (at the time) was can we build the stadium and not raise the mill levy, and this was how we do it,” Llewellyn said of splitting the payments up in the different funds. “The objective was two-fold. One was to participate in the new stadium, the other was not to raise the mill levy.”
    Llewellyn said they could take the money out of the funds, but that was all there was. There was no additional money to pick up trash or fix the sewer.
    “That discussion was had,” he said. “We have been living with it two to three years ago. It’s about the decision that was made and if you want to do something different, come up with something else.”
    “Maybe we can talk about it,” Fagg said. “That’s water under the bridge.”
    Commissioner Bill Young disagreed.
    “It’s not water under the bridge,” he said. “Every time we talk about money you ask how much is going to ICMA and how much to the football field. The board two years ago agreed to do this.”
    The board at the time consisted of Mayor Tom McKibban and Commissioners Shane Krause, Bill Young, Nick Badwey and David Chapin.
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