Woodbury officials unfazed by Dayton vetoGov. Mark Dayton’s veto of legislation containing a provision that would have benefited a Woodbury project isn’t slowing momentum behind the effort, city officials said.
By: Mike Longaecker, Woodbury Bulletin
Gov. Mark Dayton’s veto of legislation containing a provision that would have benefited a Woodbury project isn’t slowing momentum behind the effort, city officials said.
“It’s definitely on task,” Woodbury Mayor Mary Giuliani Stephens said.
Dayton struck down a tax bill that contained a provision that would have granted the city of Woodbury an exception from state law governing public referendums on sports facilities. Woodbury was seeking to bypass a referendum and re-issue existing bonds that would have been used to pay for a $15.5 million expansion at the Bielenberg Sports Center (BSC).
The bill allowed for the possibility of a referendum if a petition requesting the vote was signed by at least 5 percent of Woodbury voters.
But that’s all in the rear-view mirror now.
Stephens said city officials – knowing the possibility that the bill wouldn’t become law – had prepared for the outcome.
She and Interim Woodbury Communications Coordinator Jason Egerstrom said the city has gone back to its financial advisers in search of other options.
“We are looking into whether other bonding options are available,” Egerstrom said. “The process will continue to move forward. (The veto) won’t set back the project at all.”
Stephens said the city expects a report on its bonding options within the next two weeks.
The city had opted for the option available through the legislative process since it presented about $1.8 million in savings by accessing general obligation bonds, which can be paid back at a lower interest rate.
The alternative at the time was utilizing the city’s Economic Development Authority to issue lease revenue bonds.
“We’re looking into that,” Egerstrom said, noting that other options also are being explored.
There will be an open house on the project May 31 at BSC, where the public can provide feedback on the plans.
Current plans call for a major overhaul at the BSC field house. Plans call for replacing the current dome with a permanent structure and boosting the building’s square footage from 44,000 square feet to 80,000.
Project proponents say the larger facility will increase capacity and free up space for more programs, such as football and lacrosse.
Stephens said the plan remains for the project to go before City Council in the fall for approval. If approved, the bidding process would then be opened up, with construction slated for 2013.
The new facility would open in early 2014, Stephens said.
“It’s very exciting that it’s moving along,” she added.