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Fairmont – A collaborative working session around the proposed community center was held Wednesday night inside the Fairmont Capitol. This will be his third such conference held among multiple stakeholders on the subject.

The agenda for this special meeting was funding, ownership, maintenance, and discussion. The first agenda proved unwieldy as new market tax credits, bonds, additional local option sales taxes, and other sources of private funding were discussed.

The primary stakeholders involved are the Fairmont City Council, the Fairmont Regional Community Center Foundation, the Fairmont Hockey Association, the Fairmont Community Center Advisory Board, but Taft Law’s Mary Apple and Daniel Burns and Jessica Green. Other stakeholders were also involved in Wednesday’s meeting, including the Bonds Council of . , Northland Securities financial advisor, and attorney/consultant Peter Berry hired by the Foundation to speak about the new market tax credit.

Barnes spoke of a memo he and Ipple put together to give 30,000 feet an overview of the proposed community center funding.

“This dates back to when the city sought special legislation, sales tax authority, and sales tax bond issuances of up to $15 million to fund recreational facilities, trails, community centers, and more.” Burns referred to the local options sales tax, which began in 2017.

He further said that funds have been set aside for the purpose of the ice arena since then, and that some money has already been put into and spent on the design. The memo detailed the funds left to move the project forward.

Ownership was also discussed. The land on which the community center is proposed to be built is owned by the Mayo Clinic Health System. Barnes said the land would be acquired and then a lease-leaseback structure would be created between the foundation and the City of Fairmont. Ultimately, the YMCA will be the operator of the facility, he said.

“To fund the construction of community centers … the foundation is proposing a new market tax credit structure that will ultimately result in approximately $5 million in net income for the foundation.” Burns said.

He said it was proposed that bonds would be issued against the remainder of the local option sales tax and that those funds would be combined and given to the foundation to fund the construction of the facility.

Since it’s being offered as a grant rather than a repayable loan, there will be other terms in the future, Burns said briefly.

Green then went into more detail about the binding process. First, she talked about the $15 million local option sales tax collected by the city and the money the city council put into the ice machine.

She said about $12.6 million remains, but the city collects sales tax and has $4.7 million to date.Once committed funds are withdrawn, available cash equals $2.8 million

“What we envision is that the bond will be issued to recoup the $12.6 million shown to be available for the project. The city anticipates incurring additional costs. So it’s a bit of a moving target here.” Green said.

Green also discussed the difference between taxable and tax-exempt bonds, as bonds must be issued on a taxable basis if the city puts the proceeds into the pool fund. He said he received the net profit and sized the bonds according to the expected issuance costs.

City Councilman Michelle Miller questioned the contract between the project’s construction firm, Klaus Anderson, and the architect, JLG.

“If we give this money, shouldn’t we ask for an RFP (request for proposal) on design and architects, because it’s not the city that’s designing it anymore… it’s actually the foundation. New Should I go find the RFP?” asked Miller.

He added that if the city gives money as a subsidy, other groups may ask the city for the same amount for projects.

Mr Ipple said: “This grant will not go to organizations that provide design services. If we do not provide financing and the City finances this project, those contracts will remain with the City.”

He said the deal should be transferred to the foundation because the foundation is pushing hard on the tax credit scheme.

In a switch, City Councilman Jay Maynard said he’s been hearing concerns in the community about maintenance and operating costs. He said many concerns would be put to rest if he could ensure the city was not held accountable. The memo states that the Foundation is responsible for them.

I also had some design questions. Miller cited part of a memo during the design that said the city had entered into an agreement with the foundation to provide specific guidelines for the design. She asked when Congress could do that.

“I know you (the foundation) had a conversation with JLG the other day, but the YMCA wants more space for fitness. Do you have a chance?” asked Miller.

Reynolds said design meetings are underway. She said she plans to meet with her architect again soon.

“When you go back to schematic design, the cost increases.” Mr Reynolds said.

City Councilman Randy Rubenau asked if the city council should update more regularly about other meetings being held about the community center.

Foundation member Fred Kramer, who was not present at the recent meeting, said the foundation is working to ensure the community center functions as an effective YMCA. He said he would assess the city council’s concerns about whether childwatches should be added, as discussed in the previous joint working session, but at this time it cannot be redesigned.

Reynolds shared some recommendations presented at the last design meeting and said a second story was also discussed, as was the number of studio rooms needed for a successful fitness area.

Miller said he wasn’t asking to redesign the facility. She said she thinks the fitness area should be left at 5,000 square feet and part of it should be used for a child-watching area.

“There are two fitness centers in town… I don’t think they need to compete. Yes, and the pool needs to be revisited because I think we’re limiting ourselves.” Miller said.

City Councilman Britney Kawecki invited Brandon Edmundson, Director of the Lakeview Methodist Health Care Center, to speak about the Building Block Learning Center and Child Care located within Lakeview. Lakeview has invested more than $1 million in his new childcare center, but is still seeking funding to complete the space.

“For me, the best use of community money is to use it first, and if it’s full and it’s not meeting your needs yet, then that’s where you start.” Mr Edmundson said.

Miller said he wasn’t necessarily talking about childcare, but more like after-school and after-school care, and didn’t want to compete with Lakeview.

Earlier work sessions said the fitness facility was 5,000 square feet, Maynard said, but that concept map now shows it’s almost 10,000 square feet.

Reynolds said the schematic designs should be submitted for congressional approval and a work session on the schematic designs is scheduled for later in the summer.

Rubenau said he hopes to get updates and copies of the latest designs by August because of the regular phone calls.

Edmundson, who also sits on the Community Center Advisory Board, provided details of the land and how part of it was transferred to the Foundation by Mayo and another part to the city for later additions. I asked about a note about ice arena.

“When do you think Mayo will hand over the second part to the city?” asked Edmundson. He also asked about the lease term and whether it was still being discussed.

Ipple said the land would be transferred to the foundation in one lump sum, the foundation would lease the divided land to the city, and the city would lease half to the foundation. He stated that the above specific conditions had not yet been established.

“We give you (the city) the sales tax bond income, so the foundation needs to operate this facility for the life of the bond. Assuming we get the ice arena bond, we can build the facility that will be done in Part 2 of this financing.” Yipple said.

Reynolds added that he is working with the architects to consider whether to leave some space between the two buildings or build a zero lot line.

The meeting was a working session and no votes were taken, but Reynolds asked whether the city council and the foundation agreed with the structure described in the memo. will enable them to proceed with their work.

Krahmer expressed satisfaction with the agreement. Council members Rubenou, Maynard and Kawecki also said they were happy with it.

A resolution on this issue could be made at the May 22nd City Council meeting for City Council approval.

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