Jamestown’s elected officials are reviewing a possible bond totaling more than $6.9 million for capital improvements.
However, some citizens are not pleased with this course of action.
During a City Council work session Monday, Jamestown resident Doug Champ vocally expressed his displeasure that the Jamestown City Council has not been forthcoming about the actual cost of the proposed bond to the taxpayers.
“This bond will be the burden of our children’s children,” Champ said. “This bond will be paid off — according to your schedule — in 2048, and the $6.9 million borrowed will cost taxpayers more than $12 million when paid in full.”
Moreover, Champ then inquired about other sources of funding for the capital improvement projects in lieu of bonding the city.
“We had $28.1 million in ARPA (American Rescue Plan Act of 2021) can we not use some of that to fund the improvements?” asked Champ. “So, when you’re (Jamestown City Council members) going door-to-door asking for votes, I hope you’re being upfront and honest about your position on this bond,” said Champ. “You need to be telling the public the truth about this.”
The bond the city is looking to acquire will be allocated for internal city infrastructure improvements such as $1.8 million to replace the municipal building roof and do facade work; $400,000 for security enhancements; $350,000 for window replacements; $500,000 for a Bergman Park waterline replacement; $2 million toward Fenton Mansion Roof repairs; and $1 million to complete the new central fleet garage on Washington Street.
However, not all council members were just going with the ebb and flow of ramrodding proclamations though council.
“Why weren’t we having extensive conversations on this a year, year and a half, two years ago … when we had large sums of ARPA funding. I guess that if I had known it was that large of a problem, I would have been more concerned about that than splash pads or some of these other projects,” said Jeff Russell, R- At Large.
Other council members chimed in on the spending debate.
“I’ve brought up roof concerns many times in the past,” added Maria Carrubba, D-Ward 4. “Why are we not taking care of this building, including the windows, including the roof, all of that, and the leaks?”
In response to the council members’ questions, Mayor Eddie Sundquist stated the extent of issues with the municipal building roof were not realized until an engineering study was completed that indicated a full replacement was needed.
However, if there are ARPA funds available, City Council members have alluded to the fact that maybe they could scale back on the proposed bond and use some of those funds instead.
“If there’s some money left (ARPA funds) in that to allocate that towards some of these projects and also the possibility of scaling it back. So, even if we have to bond, we can significantly reduce the total cost of the bond,” Council President Tony Dolce, R-Ward 2, said.
Today’s breaking news and more in your inbox