City Council studies Benefit Assessment District again; will talk $113,000 kitchen

Councilmembers will continue its analysis of a proposed Benefit Assessment District to help fund the golf course. The city’s engineering firm, Quad Knopf, has been asked to put together an analysis of what it would take to pass such an assessment district, and according to the report, it isn’t going to be easy.

It’s going to cost $22,000 just to hire Quad Knopf to perform the tasks required to process and plan a Benefit Assessment District, and possibly more depending on the level of expanded services the city requires.

Quad Knopf, in a lengthy proposal presented to councilmembers at its July 1 meeting, plans to charge the city up to $22,000 for a series of phases which include a kick-off meeting, data gathering, preparing a final report, prepare an assessment for mailing, attend additional public meetings, and of course help count the vote.

A benefit assessment district requires property owners to cast a ballot in favor of, or against an assessment.

Council is considering an assessment district to help the golf course pay expenses. According to Quad Knopf’s report to the council, there have been years when the General Fund has not been needed to support the course, but on average over the last seven years, the city has supported the course to the tune of about $60,000 per year.

The course also has no asset replacement fund to help fund repairs or replace equipment.

There will be hurdles to passing the proposed benefit assessment, stated Quad Knopf. A major obstacle may be Lemoore residents’ antipathy toward paying for a golf course with taxes. Local property owners may not see the urgency or the need. Quad Knopf says such sentiment may have to be overcome with an extensive public education effort.

There are approximately 7,500 parcels in Lemoore. Citing similar ballot measures undertaken by mid-sized communities like Lemoore, the track record has not been good. Less than 50 percent have been successful.

In other council news, it will get a request from the city’s Parks and Recreation Department for another $30,000 to complete the Cinnamon Municipal Complex kitchen project, which was originally expected to cost $88,000. According to Recreation Director Joe Simonson, the Kings County Health Department is demanding up-to-date upgrades and more stringent regulations for commercial kitchens.

Simonson stated that the city is now required to install an air curtain, special hoods, and multiple sinks for cooking, cleaning and hand washing. The additional cost to implement these regulations is $30,000.

The kitchen is being funded from Parks and Recreation Impact fees paid for by new development in Lemoore. There is currently $2,014,971 in the fund’s budget.

Councilmembers will also be asked to buy a new Compressed Natural Gas (CNG) side loader refuse vehicle. In 2010 the city was awarded $1 million in CMAQ money from Caltrans to buy alternative fuel vehicles. To date the city has purchased a CNG street sweeper and two CNG side-loading refuse vehicles with this funding.

There is currently $142,680 remaining in the grant proceeds and to buy another CNG vehicle would require a contribution from the city in the form of $160,000 from the Refuse Asset Replacement Fund. The city must spend the CMAQ money by June of 2015 or the money will have to be returned.

Comments powered by Disqus