WARREN - Four of seven parts to a controversial $24.5 million bond proposal were passed Wednesday night by City Council. City administrators promised to soon bring reworked versions of the remaining three portions for council consideration.
Council agreed to sell $10.37 million worth of bonds - $10 million in projects, plus bond costs - to do a combination of projects. Projects are to refinance two existing bonds for the police and fire pension funds and the water department, purchase a rescue pumper truck, and purchase computer hardware and software for the city.
At Mayor Doug Franklin's request, council tabled the selling of $15,750,000 worth of bonds - $14.5 million, plus bond costs - that were to be used for building and property improvements, a One-Stop Municipal Service Building, as well as road construction and resurfacing.
Earlier this week, Franklin said he wanted to rework the tabled bond items to make them more palatable to residents and council members.
Opponents of the original bond issue have been especially critical of building a new administration building that would house multiple city departments.
"We will be presenting council a minimum of two alternative proposals to the One Stop," Franklin said. "One is contingent on negotiations with a non-government organization, so we may be able to use an existing building as opposed to doing new construction."
$7.3 million - Water revenue bond, 10 years
$1.4 million - Refinance pension bonds, 24 years
$750,000 - Upgrade computer equipment, 10 years
$550,000 - Fire truck, 10 years
$9.5 million - Build a one-stop administration building, 25 years
$2.5 million - Road improvements, 15 years
$2.5 million - Building improvements, 25 years
However, the idea of building a new multi-service building is not dead, he said.
"That is why we asked council to table the one-stop instead of killing the legislation," Franklin said.
Some critics, such as community activist Bette Daily, suggested that more money should go to repairing and upgrading neighborhood streets that have long been neglected.
On Monday, Daily said the $2.5 million that had been included in the bond issue proposal would only address about 40 percent of the backlog of work that is needed to be done on the city streets.
On Wednesday, Councilman John Brown told residents who attended that council meeting that council, working with the administration, will work to increase the amount of money going toward street improvements and resurfacing.
Councilman Alford Novak told council members and the public that he plans, through the council's finance committee, to work slowly in reviewing any new proposals the administration presents.
"They will go through three readings, just as the proposals passed tonight had to go through," Novak said. "We are not going to ram anything through. Council and the public will have an opportunity to review and ask questions."