At the September, 2017 Regular Meeting, the St. Croix County Board approved borrowing an additional $27 Million for the construction of a new Highway Department facility to be located in Baldwin. The proposed new facility would consolidate many of the current, stand-alone structures into a single large facility, constructed on a 53 acre site purchased from the Village of Baldwin.
Costs for the land purchase and construction will be financed through the County’s issuance of $27 Million in 20 Year, General Obligation (GO) Bonds, adding $1,925,000.00 in annual debt service to the tax levy in years 2019 – 2038. The cost of financing is calculated to be $11,520,557.00, for a total cost to taxpayers for the project of $38,520,557.50. The cost of financing represents an additional 42% over the target $27,000,000.00 project budget.
The detailed design and construction estimate for the proposed Highway Facility has not yet been completed, and will require additional work that was dependent on securing the funding commitment. The current plan calls for the design and bid for construction to be completed in the Spring of 2018, followed by the actual bond issue that will reflect a revised amount that cannot exceed the $27 Million limit established by the resolution.
During the discussion prior to voting on the resolution, Supervisor Tom Coulter motioned that the borrowing of that amount of money should be approved by the taxpayers before subjecting them to an additional estimated $1,925,000.00 annual tax levy for the next 20 years. The motion was seconded by Supervisor Andy Brinkman, forcing a vote on whether or not to consult taxpayers before authorizing the borrowing of the funds.
The Board chose not to consult taxpayers by defeating Supervisor Coulter’s motion in a 15-3 vote, and then immediately approved the additional borrowing in a second 15-3 vote. Supervisors Tom Coulter, Andy Brinkman, and Bob Long voted against the resolutions, Supervisor Ryan Sicard was not present at the meeting. The remaining 15 Supervisors passed the resolutions. The borrowing resolution required a ¾ majority, or 15 votes, to succeed.
With the addition of this borrowing, combined taxpayer debt service payments will escalate from the current $4 Million per year to nearly $8 Million per year in 2022, assuming no additional borrowing is approved over the next 4 years.
All 19 County Board seats are up for reelection in Spring of 2018.
View a short, time compressed video of the discussion and vote on the resolution from the Board Meeting.