City of Brillion will not purchase City Center at this time

Dec. 17, 2020


Potential purchase could be reevaluated in 2021


By David Nordby

The Brillion News


BRILLION – Brillion City Council members agreed on Monday night that the city will not pursue a purchase of the downtown City Center building until at least next year.


With interest rates currently low, the city asked Ehlers & Associates Vice President Phil Cosson to review purchasing options for the city so it could potentially end its lease agreement with Integrated Public Resources (IPR). IPR owns City Center, the chosen name for the city hall building that was constructed in 2018.


The current agreement for the building costs the city $120,000 annually for lease payments. Purchasing the building could equal a $350,000 future savings for the city.


“It’s really more than that. We’re paying the taxes for this facility and part of that money goes to the county or to the school system so we’re paying more like $135,000 [each year],” Mayor Mel Edinger said.


Ultimately on Monday night, council expressed concern over purchasing the building. So did new Brillion City Administrator Peter Wills. Collectively, council agreed in favor of not pursuing a purchase of the building until at least 2021.


Cosson said the city would need to decide to purchase the building by late fall to see a savings in 2022.


“Delaying today I don’t think hurts you at all,” Cosson said, adding that his team expects interest rates to remain low through 2021.


Among the concerns from council as to why they should not take on more debt was Alderperson Sarah Pielhop and the city’s water.


“If the Main Street Bridge caved in, which it’s possible because it failed a test, if our water treatment plant takes a crap and the City of Brillion doesn’t have water, we can’t pay for it without this borrowing capacity,” Pielhop said. “I’m just worried that we need to let something drop off first before we take on another debt like this.”


Discussion deviated to different council members citing what they are most worried about such as water, street or other city projects.


“We have a lot of issues coming at us,” Edinger said.


Two purchasing options


Cosson presented two purchasing options the city currently could exercise if they want to purchase City Center for approximately $1,531,413.


The acquisition of the building would need to be done by working around state statutes.


“Wisconsin statutes are very clear when it comes to city halls and how they have to be financed,” Cosson said.


• Option 1: Referendum for the city to purchase the building through general obligation bonds. • Option 2: A two-step process, first receiving a short-term loan through a local bank or state loan program followed by the city issuing bonds and refinancing.


The bonds in option 1 would require referendum under Wisconsin law.


Please see the complete story in the Dec. 17, 2020 print edition of The Brillion News.