LA CYGNE – With several projects in progress in La Cygne this spring, Mayor Debra Wilson complimented city staff on the work they have been doing early in last Wednesday’s city council meeting. Projects under way include water intake upgrade, a storm sewer project, and the construction of turn lanes on Market and Industrial streets, as well as the beginning of a sewer rehabilitation project.
She also complimented City Clerk Jodi Wade on her work, but she wasn’t specific and alluded to an announcement later in the meeting.
A few minutes later, the reason was clear: The city was approved by the First Option Bank Trustee Foundation for a $100,000 grant to build a new city fire station.
“We very much appreciate First Option Bank and Jodi and the those who helped her,” the mayor said.
The project cost of the new station was about $745,000 when an architect for the building gave an estimate in July 2021. However, Wade said she expected that price would increase.
Wade said that, in addition to the grant money, the city has about $300,000 in capital reserve. She also suggested the council look at using a substantial portion of the nearly $171,000 the city received as part of the American Recovery Program Act (ARPA) money it received.
The plans for the station include a separate shell that would be used for storage. The base bid would be to build the 4,250-square-foot main fire station, and an alternate would be to construct the additional shell, which would be 1,500 square feet. The new station would be built on the northeast corner of the intersection of Sycamore and Fourth streets.
The three alternatives for the additional financing would be to apply to the city’s Public Building Commission to issue revenue bonds, enter into a lease agreement with a bank, or apply for a loan through the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA).
The city’s Public Building Commission, a five-member board, could issue revenue bonds for the amount needed. If the council decides to use a bank, it would lease the building until the lease was paid off, and that could either be a five- or 10-year term, with annual interest rates of 2.6 percent and 2.95 percent respectively.
Both of those options require using tax dollars and would include publishing a notice and would be subject to the possibility of a voter challenge.
A loan through USDA would be for up to 40 years with an interest rate of 2.5 percent.
Councilman Jerome Mitzner suggested the council look at using the Public Building Commission, citing that it worked well with the swimming pool project. He also said that most of the ARPA funds should go into the fire station project as well to insure that money would be spent in a timely manner.
The council had looked at using the ARPA funds for doing some remodeling of the La Cygne Community Building.
Wade said the council might consider using some of the ARPA money to install street number signs on the more than 660 addresses in the city. She used as an example the push by the Parker City Council several years ago to put reflective street numbers on all addresses that would be easier to see by emergency personnel on 911 calls.
She showed the council an example of a horizontal sign being used in Parker and noted that the city’s code requirement included a visible street number.