MARYSVILLE – It was as if the needle got stuck on an old record player with the Pointer Sisters song “I’m so excited” on.
City Council members and staff repeated that phrase over and over when talking about the new Civic Campus.
With the passage of the city’s sales tax increase in the Aug. 7 election, the City Council held a special meeting Monday and approved a $32 million general obligation bond sale to finance the campus.
“It’s not often a city gets to embark on such a big deal,” Council Member Jeff Vaughan said.
Mark James added, “This is landmark, phenomenal.”
Council president Camille Norton said, “This will take public safety to the next level.”
Rob Toyer chimed in, “I hope schools are the next project.”
Finance director Sandy Langdon said approving the bond sale now was key to keeping project costs down. There is talk that interest rates will go up Sept. 25.
Mayor Jon Nehring agreed that acting now “will save taxpayers money in the long run.”
The sales tax increase to 9.2 percent will provide $23 million for a new police station and jail. Ballots are still being counted, but the measure is leading by a wide margin. Election certification is Aug. 21.
City officials have said if the measure passed, it would start the process to build a new campus. It plans to pay for the general obligation bonds with the new tax money and by selling off property and city buildings of departments that would be located at the new campus.
That would include City Hall, the city courthouse, community development and public works. Consolidating city services into one modern, energy-efficient campus would be a cost-effective way to deal with future needs, a city news release says.
The new civic campus would be built on property starting at the Baxter Community Center heading west, north and south. The city already owns much of the 6 acres between Fourth and Eighth streets.
As for the new police department and jail, it will have 26,786 square feet of space for 110.5 staff, and 19,272 square feet for 50 cells to house 110 inmates. The old facilities, built more than three decades ago, are overcrowded.
The tax increase amounts to about a dollar for every $1,000 spent in the city, excluding groceries, prescription drugs and vehicles. It will bring in $800,000 a year. That will pay about 70 percent of the cost. The remaining 30 percent will come from the general fund.
The project will go out to bid in February 2019, construction will start that spring, with the finished product to be ready in 2020.
“We’re going to move very quickly,” Chief Administrative Officer Gloria Hirashima said.
She added there will be meetings in September to gather public input. “We have a very inquisitive public,” she said.
Vaughan gave a historical look at the project, saying it got started during Mayor Dennis Kendall’s tenure, but it was put on hold during the recession. He thanked Nehring for being so fiscally conservative that the city was able to save money to help with the project. And for the council in deciding to fund it with a sales tax increase.
And like all the others, he was “excited.”
•For details go to www.marysvillewa.gov/Civic Campus.