The Brainerd Economic Development Authority today voted against issuing bonds to pay for city buildings.
By a 4 to 1 vote, with member Ed Menk voting against, the authority denied the issuance of $1.3 million in lease revenue bonds to pay for a northeast Brainerd fire substation, a street department building in the Brainerd Industrial Park and a police station in the former Water and Light building on Laurel Street.
The EDA sent the issue back to the Brainerd City Council to be discussed at its Aug. 5 meeting.
Menk said by issuing the bonds now the city would be able to maneuver financially in a business climate that's changing.
"The city will receive a lot of benefit from (the bond issue), it's not like we're throwing it away," said Menk.
The rest of the EDA members present, and a majority of people who spoke at the public hearing today, said they thought it was a bad time to be adding a burden to taxpayers.
With the Brainerd Public Utilities paying $2.87 million for the construction, and an additional estimated $1 million coming from the police residual funds and the county's buyout of the city from the Law Enforcement Center, many said they felt other revenues could be found to pay for the $3,929,550 city project. The city council wanted the EDA to issue bonds so the $1 million from the police residual funds and the LEC buyout could be used to equip the police station and increase the general fund balance.
EDA and city council member Bob Olson said 14 days ago he would've agreed with issuing the bonds, but today he believes money could be found elsewhere. "Why in heaven's name do we want to assess our citizens ... and saddle them with a $2 million debt?" Olson asked.
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