June 18, 2020
By David Nordby
The Brillion News
BRILLION – The City of Brillion plans to move forward with educating the public on why it believes a new facility for the city’s police, fire and ambulance services is necessary.
City council will have its regular meeting this Monday where it could formally move forward with a plan that would include the creation of videos of the existing facilities and a plan for in-person tours to the public.
A potential new facility was discussed in great detail the past two weeks at special city council meetings, including earlier this week when the city offered an in-person tour to the public. The location for the new facility that has been discussed is four acres on the site of the Brillion Works, LLC project and could be funded through a special loan program offered by the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA).
At Monday’s meeting, the departments discussed the potential new location which would be near the expanded Horn Park.
“I (couldn’t) care less where it is. It really doesn’t matter. We can respond from anywhere,” Brillion Police Chief Kirk Schend said.
Brillion Fire Chief Joe Diener said he is “okay with it,” and has the same concern where the department is currently stationed at while answering a call near the Brillion Elementary/Middle School when students are around, just as they would deal with people near Horn Park.
“My guys still have to be mindful no matter when they’re responding … of other people’s lives,” Diener said.
Hypothetical routes for fire trucks would depend on how the Brillion Works is redeveloped.
“Once that area is developed, things are going to be changed,” Diener said.
The USDA loan, if the city applied and was approved, currently carries an interest rate of 2.35 percent with the ability to be paid off if the city ever had money for it. The new facility’s funding could also be passed through a referendum. The new building would carry a total price tag of $7.4 million, including demolition.
“The biggest hangup is that this would cost $141 per $100,000 home for 40 years,” Alderperson Sarah Pielhop said. “Either way, the citizens of Brillion would be paying more in taxes for this building, and we just have to hear what constituents think of that.”
Taxes for the new facility theoretically could decrease after a few years because of a balloon payment for one of the city’s Tax Incremental Districts (TID), Pielhop noted.
She also added that the interest rate will be higher and the land may not be available in the future.
If the city was not approved for the loan or opted not to use the USDA loan program, then the other option would be a referendum. The city’s borrowing limit is at $2.5 million, which would make the new facility impossible without either the loan or referendum.
One officer at the meeting voiced concern over borrowing from the USDA.
Please see the complete story in the June 18, 2020 edition of The Brillion News.