Action delayed on ordinances relating to road reconstruction, Westfield lease

Staff Report

Action on two ordinances before the Crest-wood Board of Aldermen recently was del-ayed after “no” votes were cast for second readings of the measures.

Action was postponed last week on ordinances to approve a contract for the reconstruction of Ewers Drive and to approve a lease with the Westfield Corp. for office space at the Westfield Shoppingtown Crest-wood while the retrofitting of the Govern-ment Center to include a new police facility takes place.

Under the City Charter, a unanimous vote of the Board of Aldermen is required to consider the second reading of an ordinance at the same meeting at which it is introduced. Without a unanimous vote for an immediate second reading, one week must elapse before an ordinance can be considered for approval by the Board of Aldermen.

Eleven responsive bids were received by the city for the reconstruction of Ewers Drive, Ewers Court and Lawndale Drive with a low bid of $389,745 submitted by Kelpe Contracting, according to an April 12 memorandum written by City Administra-tor Don Greer to the Board of Aldermen.

“The bid amount shows a modest savings from the budget amount of $401,080,” Greer stated in the memorandum.

The Public Works Board voted unanimously Feb. 15 to recommend approval of the bid submitted by Kelpe Contracting.

Ward 3 Alderman Don Maddox’s motion to seek a second reading of the ordinance awarding the contract to Kelpe was seconded by Ward 1 Alderman Richard LaBore.

Ward 2 Alderman Tim Trueblood cast a “no” vote on Maddox’s motion, ending con-sideration of the ordinance April 12.

In December, Trueblood had sought to postpone the reconstruction of Ewers Drive and use the budgeted amount of $401,080 to accelerate the capital improvement fund’s repayment of $901,000 to the general fund. His motion to do so was defeated with a 5-3 vote.

Besides Trueblood, Ward 4 Alderman Pat Duwe and Ward 2 Alderman Jim Kelleher voted in favor of the motion.

Regarding the lease with the Westfield Corp., Maddox voted “no” on Trueblood’s motion for a second reading of the ordinance. Trueblood’s motion was seconded by Duwe.

The Board of Aldermen voted March 8 to authorize Mayor Tom Fagan to sign a letter of intent to lease the space from Westfield beginning May 1.

In a March 8 memorandum to the board, Greer wrote, “During design and prebid discussions with the city’s architect for the Police Building/Government Center renovations, we were informed that the most efficient and cost-effective manner of managing the construction would be for the board to essentially ‘close’ the Govern-ment Center and move City Hall during construction. Based upon that information, staff began a review of potential available space that would meet the needs of the city for a period of what could be 18 months.”

As proposed, the city would lease roughly 14,827 square feet of office space at the Westfield Shoppingtown Crestwood at a cost of $3,333.33 per month.

During construction, Police Department communications would relocate to the Fire Department. Moving to the leased space would be the city administration, finance, city clerk, police support/operations, management information systems and the public works administration.

(See DELAYED, Page 14A)

Crestwood voters in August 2002 approved Proposition S, the extension of a half-cent sales tax to fund construction of a new police building, fund repairs at the Government Center and allow the continuation of the city’s street repair and replacement program. The half-cent, capital-improvements sales tax had been scheduled to end in 2008, but voter approval of Proposition S extended the sales tax until 2023.

In November 2002, the city issued $9.83 million in certificates of participation — or COPs — to fund the construction of a new police building and repairs to the Government Center. Due to the rising costs of concrete and steel, aldermen last summer scrapped the construction of the stand-alone police building and decided to retrofit the Government Center to include a new police facility.

The Board of Aldermen voted 6-2 in January to seek bids for the retrofitting of the Government Center, estimated at nearly $8 million, with Maddox and Ward 3 Aldermen Jerry Miguel opposed.

Fagan, who was elected mayor last August to complete the unexpired term of former Mayor Jim Robertson, was defeated April 5 in his re-election bid by former Alderman Roy Robinson.

Robinson does not support the board’s vote on the retrofitting of City Hall and believes that this is not the time to continue the project.

“The renovation needs to be reviewed and changes need to be made to the Police Department portion. The new Police Department project is absolutely more than a city the size of Crestwood needs and it looks like a Taj Mahal, which is out of character for our city. Saving, not spending, is what is needed on this project. We can do a renovation, but not like the one the board approved. Monies saved can be spent on the street program,” Robinson stated in response to a Call candidate questionnaire.

Robinson also believes the Board of Aldermen should considering defeasing the COPs, a proposal twice rejected by the majority of aldermen.

To defease the COPs, an escrow account could be established to meet the obligations owed to certificate holders until the certificates can be retired.

“I believe defeasing of the certificates of participation — COPs — to retrofit City Hall should be considered as an option if the city can do it without losing a large amount of the tax revenue. If the city continues a renovation but reduces the size of the police building portion, to a more realistic size, the savings could be used for other capital improvements then the tax should not revert to the 2008 sunset,” Robinson stated in response to a Call questionnaire.

Robinson will take the oath of office when the Board of Aldermen meets at 7 p.m. Tuesday, April 26, at the Government Center, 1 Detjen Drive.