Council to discuss Port Townsend city manager’s proposed bond measure at tonight’s meeting
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Aaron Baker, 8, left, and Isaiah Torok, 6, play with Legos at Mountain View Commons as part of the YMCA day care program. Myles Wright, 6, is in the background. Charlie Bermant/Peninsula Daily News

By Leah Leach
Peninsula Daily News

PORT TOWNSEND — City Manager David Timmons is recommending a ballot proposal for $4.1 million in bonds, much of it for Mountain View Commons renovation and repairs, in a measure that would represent $1.8 million in new costs for taxpayers.

The voters would be asked to approve $4.1 million in general obligations bonds to allow the city to get a better bond rate, Timmons said.

Much of the amount of the bonds, if approved in a November or February election, would be paid back over 15 years through a combination of utility savings, grants and revenue from the Proposition 1 sales tax increase voters approved in 2010, Timmons said in a memo to the council.

The rest, $1.8 million, would be through a new property tax levy of no more than 13 cents per $1,000 assessed valuation for the 15-year term, Timmons recommends.

At a 6:30 p.m. meeting tonight, the Port Townsend City Council, meeting in council chambers in historic City Hall, 540 Water St., will consider only whether it wants an election resolution prepared, not to set an election date.

The resolution would be brought back to the council for consideration at a later date, perhaps a June 23 special meeting, according to the council packet.

Tonight, the council also will consider the adoption of a supplemental budget to allow emergency repairs at Mountain View Commons at 1925 Blaine St., which houses the city police station, municipal pool and a raft of nonprofits from the food bank to the YMCA.

Emergency repairs include replacing the two boilers, the classroom roof and the air system.

The air system is inoperable now, Timmons said, and the boilers are old and often break down, necessitating custom fabrication of parts no longer available.

“We want to get started the first of July and have [the emergency repairs] done by the end of the year,” Timmons said.

The supplemental budget is only part of what is needed before emergency repairs can be initiated.

The Port Townsend School District also must approve a new lease for the Mountain View Commons, which was once an elementary school and is owned by the school district.

Last Monday, June 9, the City Council approved a 15-year lease in which the city would pay the district $60,000 annually for five years and then $1 per year for the next 10 years.

The School Board is expected to consider it June 23.

Emergency repairs would be funded through temporary financing, pending the results of an election on a bond measure, which he hopes will be as soon as possible.

“The work needs to get done,” he said. “We need to decide as soon as we can because once we get the emergency repairs finished, we need to sit down with partners and discuss the best use of space.”

For instance, the Port Townsend Food Bank wants to install a walk-in cooler, Timmons mentioned.

The $4.1 million in bonds would include refinancing the emergency work to get a better interest rate, Timmons said.

It also would include energy retrofit measures at Mountain View and the Port Townsend Library and well as installing a master control system for energy management in all city facilities.

The energy measure would cost $2.3 million. Proposition 1 revenue and utility savings will cover the cost, along with grants the city has acquired.

The city has $800,000 in grants for the work: $500,000 from the state Department of Commerce and $300,000 from the state Department of Ecology’s sulphur reduction program, which the city gets because it will switch from diesel to condensed propane in the boiler system.

“What we’re asking voters to pay for are the final elements to secure Mountain View for the next 15 years and beyond,” Timmons said.

The revenue from a new property tax levy would go toward fire safety — installing such items as smoke alarms and sprinkler heads — ramps and other measures need to improve accessibility and compliance with the Americans with Disabilities Act, gym roof repair and renovations of the pool’s locker rooms and bathrooms, Timmons said.

Since the city leased Mountain View in 2009, it has grown to house not only the police station and the pool, but also the Port Townsend Food Bank, YMCA, Jefferson County office of the American Red Cross of the Olympic Peninsula, KPTZ-91.9 FM radio station, Working Image and the ReCyclery.

It has also served as the temporary home of the Port Townsend Library.

If the city chose not to invest in Mountain View, then it would have to build a police station, Timmons said.

He estimates that would cost between $4 million and $5 million, while the cost of addressing the comprehensive needs of Mountain View is $4,730,000.

“This is a much better investment,” Timmons said.

“We’re leveraging our money so taxpayers are getting a return on their investment there.

“It’s securing other community services beyond the police for the same amount of money.”

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Managing Editor/News Leah Leach can be reached at 360-417-3531 or at leah.leach@peninsuladailynews.com.

Last modified: June 15. 2014 6:47PM
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