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City approves street, sewer and water work
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DARLINGTON –Mayor David Breunig called the Darlington City Council meeting to order, Tuesday, May 17, 2016 at 7:00 p.m. The main topic on the agenda were whether or not to reconstruct three city streets in Darlington and incur the debt associated with those projects.
    The proposed infrastructure improvements in question are Madison Street (from E. North to E. Lucy) - $485,480; E. Lucy Street (from Arthur to dead end) - $179,275 and Arthur Street (from Minerva to E. Mary Streets) - $399,605.
    The issue for the city is the financial obligation that will result if these projects are approved. Breunig stated, “This borrowing will pretty much tap us out. It is recommended that cities not go above 50% of their debt limit.” Before action at this meeting the city is at 46.5% of their debt limit. The city’s debt limit is $5,355,245.
    Alderman Don Osterday said, “It’s a tough decision for a number of reasons. We know those streets are bad and they’re not going to get any better, and it won’t get any cheaper to repair them.” He continued, “The reconstruction of Hwy. 23 is looming in 2021 and we know we will have at least $855,000 (city side) to finance at that time.” Remodeling the second floor of the municipal building is another expense the city is considering. Replacing lead pipes was brought up by Breunig as yet another expense the city may be faced with in the future.
    Alderman Steve Pickett chimed in, “The streets are not going to get any better and if we don’t maintain them they’re going to get progressively worse.” Osterday asked, “How do you feel about pushing the debt limit going to 66%” Pickett responded, “I’m not for that, but I don’t think we have a choice. Money is not going to get any cheaper and these projects will always be there. The upstairs project is the only one that is questionable.” Alderman John Sonsalla added, “I think we do have a choice and I think it’s very dangerous to go to 66%.” Pickett said, “I think the upstairs can be put on hold, that will take the debt to 56%. If we wait on these street projects and something else pops up, then the hole gets bigger.”
    A quasi-compromise was made as a motion was made by Sonsalla to approve construction be done on two of the three - Madison and E. Lucy Streets and the proposed sewer bond refunding and the water bond refunding, and seconded. The vote went 4-1 with one abstain to approve. The action takes the city’s debt limit to $2,855,414 and 53.3% of their debt limit.
    Two resolutions attached to the projects – the sale of $905,000 Waterworks System Revenue Bonds and $760,000 Sewerage System Revenue Bonds, were both separately approved. This action will refund the current bonds that are owed by the Sewerage System and the Waterworks System and will save the city $275,000 in interest.
    The proposed remodeling of the second floor of the municipal building was tabled. Pickett voiced his opinion, “I think we should table this for now and the Building and Insurance Committee and Finance Committee can study and discuss this, and then it can be brought back to the council with more information and perhaps a plan.”
    In other business, the council approved:
    •Temporary Class B Retailer’s License for the Darlington Lions Club, for the fenced in area at the ball field during the Canoe Fest ball tournament.
    • Temporary Class B Retailer’s License for the Driver Opera House for fenced in area on W. Ann Street, during Canoe Fest.
    • Temporary Class B Retailer’s License for Wiegel Strong Foundation for fenced in area at the Festival Grounds August 20, 2016. Representatives Mark Wilson and Riley Fitzsimons were present to explain that the Wiegel Strong Foundation is planning to put on “Luke Fest”, August 20, 2016. The activities of the festival will be a craft beer tasting and a band will be playing later that night. The other members of the group are Nate Wiegel, Kory Tuescher and Bob Wiegel. Wilson stated that all the funds raised by Wiegel Strong Foundation will be going back to the community.
    Board of Review will be held June 1, 2016 at 10:00 a.m.