Mayor Smith: No Assessments for Interchange
Landowners cheer mayor's recommendation at City Council work session
A big sigh of relief and loud applause greeted Avon mayor Jim Smith's recommendation that assessments of property near the coming Nagle Road interchange not be used as part of the city's share of the $27 million project.
The city should be able to finance the project with long-term municipal bonds and Tax Increment Financing, Smith said.
The assessments could have put an up-to-$9 million burden on landowners in the area near the interchange.
Don Nagel, a farmer with 12 acres of land in the area that could have been assessed, was relieved to have that threat lifted.
"I'm glad they came to their senses," he said.
Smith and Matthew Stuczynski of Municipal and School Solutions gave a presentation lasting about an hour. Smith outlined the history of the city financing projects and development. Stuczynski laid out charts showing city revenue and debt, pointing out its Aa1 rating from Moody's.
When he was done, Smith made his recommendation, ending months of increasing tension between the city and some residents.
Smith said he had no regrets over putting out the possibility of assessments.
"I have to sign my name to this project," he said, adding that it would have been worse if the assessments were sprung on residents at the last minute.
"It's been a tough couple of months," said councilman Daniel Zegarac at the end of the almost three-hour meeting.
"I know people have been frustrated," said councilman Bryan Jensen. "But we've always been in your corner. We always wanted to make sure we did the best for everybody."
Stuczynki said he has been working Smith and finance director Bill Logan for the last six months on the presentation. He has tested and challenged all projections and assumptionsh, he said, and is confident in the figures he presented.
Brian McKeown, owner of the Rock Pile, said Smith's announcement was welcome news. But he was still critical of the city having to pay for two-thirds of the interchange.