Overhauling roadways, repairs and helping former ice arena up for approval in Melvindale

By TEREASA NIMS
Sunday Times Newspapers

MELVINDALE — When the Melvindale Ice Arena was built in 1974, city officials said the economy was in a different place and the city didn’t have to incur a debt on the facility.

Yet, in 1998 the city had to issue a bond debt when another ice rink was added to the facility. Since that time, the arena’s revenue has struggled to match the estimated $250,000 annual bond debt, leaving the city to pay the obligation, City Manager Richard Ortiz said.

Officials are asking voters to approve or deny an Unlimited Tax pledge ballot proposal to help with the bond payments for the recently renamed Kessey Sportsplex.

Residents are being asked to approve an increase of 1.7843 mills for eight years to pay the annual principal and interest on the arena’s bond debt.

On a house with a $10,000 taxable value, the annual taxes will increase by $17.84.

If passed, the city will pay the debt service on the arena’s bond every April and October until 2022.

Voters also will be asked to determine if the municipality repairs and replaces nearly all of the city’s 30 miles of roads.

The cost of replacing 11 miles of roads, that a recent road study showed are beyond repair, and repairing the remaining roads will cost an estimated $6 million.

The 7.0703-mill ballot proposal, if passed, would pay for the installing, improving, replacing roads and the sidewalks and sewers. This would raise taxes an estimated $70.79 a year on a house with a $10,000 taxable value.

The tax would not exceed five years and six months.

Ortiz said one-third of the city’s roads need to be torn out and reconstructed.

The city is divided into five sections and the city would work on one section at a time, Ortiz said.

If taxpayers approve the proposal, taxes would be levied in 2015. Ortiz said if it doesn’t pass, the city won’t have the money to fix the roads.

(Tereasa Nims can be reached at tnims@bewickpublications.com.)