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St. Peters may place $10 million bond issue on August ballot to fund water park, clubhouse

St. Peters voters may be asked to approve a $10 million no-tax-increase bond issue this August to fund a potential new swimming pool or water park, a new golf course clubhouse and a rear entrance to city hall.

The city’s Board of Aldermen discussed the bond issue and other long-term financial concerns at a budget workshop on Jan. 14, but has not yet made a decision on placing a measure on the ballot or what specifically that bond issue would fund.

The board approved a resolution at their Feb. 12 meeting stating that the city planned to reimburse itself from the sale of the bonds for capital expenditures and studies needed to develop the $10 million bond issue.

“This resolution will allow us to recoup those costs if the bond issue is passed by voters,” said City Administrator William Charnisky.

The city has several months to tinker with the details before deciding whether to place a bond issue on the August ballot.

“The board still has to vote on whether it wants to place [the] no-tax-increase bond issue on a future election ballot,” Charnisky said. The city has been able to increase its bonding capacity because it was able to refinance bonds issued in 2008, according to Charnisky.

At the January meeting, Assistant City Administrator Tim Wilkinson told the board that preliminary estimates for the potential bond issue projects include $5.5 million for the new clubhouse, $3.5 million for the pool or water park project and $750,000 for the city hall rear entrance.

Charnisky said city staff is studying the issue closely before offering further recommendations to the board, particularly about the swimming pool or water park. At the work session, the board discussed a water park or pool, with possible locations including the City Centre complex near city hall or the Rec-Plex facility off Mexico Road.

“We don’t know yet; we’re looking at potential sites, checking the ground, and getting some costs of what it would be,” Charnisky said. He added that the golf course clubhouse and banquet center would replace an aging facility in need of repair.

But Charnisky said the bond issue will not pay for damage to the St. Peters Golf course and other areas from December flooding.

The city hopes to be reimbursed for flood damage repairs when it submits a claim to the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA).  He said a FEMA decision to reimburse the city might not come quickly – it took three years for FEMA to reimburse from flooding in 2013.

Floodwaters from Dardenne Creek in December left more than a bit of damp mud and debris in their wake at the course, which borders the creek.

Charnisky said the city may have suffered as much as $700,000 in flood-related damages.  Water from the creek covered much of the golf course, located at 200 Salt Lick Road, just north of Interstate 70. The water also briefly closed the eastbound lanes of Interstate 70.

“The water was so high that it washed out all the sand traps and all the tee boxes and it ruined the grass,” Charnisky said.

Major damage estimates to the course discussed at the workshop include $100,000 for repairing the area around hole No. 8 and $50,000 to relocate it; $85,000 to replace a course irrigation system; $50,000 to replace sod and turf at four holes; $50,000 to repair a golf cart path; $30,000 for a maintenance office and trailer, and $27,000 for repairing an overflow pipe.

Another $150,000 is needed for other non-flood related golf course expenses needed for the course to be operational in 2016. These include $25,000 for regrading and drainage repairs on hole No. 4 and $125,000 for fairway, tee and greens mowers.

But Charnisky said the city hopes to conduct repairs and open the course for the golf season as weather warms.

According to the minutes of the January work session, the board agreed to earmark $600,000 to cover expenses to open the golf course this year and $299,000 for stormwater projects on the creek to protect the course from further flooding. That money will come from $899,000 in reserve funding in the city’s local park and stormwater fund.

Meanwhile, the board approved another resolution at the Feb. 11 meeting asking the Missouri Department of Transportation and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers to address the problem of flooding along Dardenne Creek. The resolution is expected to be sent to those agencies as well as the state’s congressional delegation and the St. Charles County state legislative delegation.


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