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Your maximum projected cost is $52.66 per $100,000 of appraised value. So, if your appraised value is $300,000, then your estimated cost will be $157.98.The bonds will be issued over 3-5 years, so the cost will increase gradually starting in 2024. After 20 years, the bonds will be paid off.
Yes, we have over $230 million worth of projects that could have been included in this bond.
Projects were selected first to repair/replace existing facilities, second to complete partially finished parks, and third to leverage other funding sources that are not property tax dependent.
Most of the projects will require some time to do detailed designs.
We will work with our engineers and construction team to determine the most efficient way to deliver value quickly to the community.
It will most likely take 5 years or more to work through all the projects.
Each project will have its own community steering committee that monitors scope, budget, and timeline.
When decisions have to be made about which assets are included, then the committee will make those recommendations.
The committee will have the option to raise additional funds privately if they wish to include features that would bring their project over budget.
No project can reduce the budget of another project. This goes for the recreation center as well.
If the rec center goes over its allocated budget, the scope will be reduced, they will use value engineering to reduce the cost, or they will raise additional funds from private donors.
The parks department has been underfunded for years, so a parks and trails levy will be necessary regardless of whether or not this bond is passed by voters.
We are confident that we can maintain and operate these new parks through the construction period.
We are getting lots of donations, grants, and other revenues to help pay for these projects! In fact, nearly 30% of the total project cost is from sources other than a property tax increase.
It's fairly typical to target 10-15% for donations, so we're far exceeding that guideline.
Donations, grants, and other revenue sources will be used to either (1) not borrow as much as we possibly can or (2) help make the annual bond payments.
Think of it like a mortgage. Donations and grants that we receive before we issue bonds are like a higher down payment on your house. Your mortgage is smaller.
On the other hand, donations and grants we receive after we issue the bonds are like getting an inheritance that you use to help with your mortgage payment. We can use those to pay our annual bond payment meaning taxpayers have to chip in less.
If we don't reach the goal of the private capital campaign, we may have to reduce project budgets.
We are very confident that we will reach the goal though, and we are already well on our way.
On the other hand, if we exceed our target, then we may be able to increase project budgets that have been reduced in order to make the bond size smaller.
The city doesn't really have any other options.
Our state legislature controls our funding options and they have thus far refused to allow cities to decide on a local sales tax or other mechanism that would help pay for these investments.
No, Billings has never sought or passed a levy to pay for parks, trails, and recreation.
We passed a small ($1.5 million) bond in 1999. We also had Park District 1 which helped with maintenance of our parks for about 10 years, but that special district has been turned off by the state legislature.
The City of Billings has set a budget increase of 5.9% this year, which was just lower than inflation.
There is no massive windfall coming even though most of our property appraisals went up greatly.
We do expect the rec center to operate at a loss.
However, the Tourism Business Improvement District (TBID) has voted to cover the operational deficit, a value of up to $8 million over the next 10 years!
A feasibility study was completed in 2019 that reviewed location options as well as provided financial estimates on a number of configurations.
That study was further refined in a master plan that City Council adopted in 2022.
The location by Amend Park is strategic due to its central location and ease of access.
Locating it in the South Billings Urban Renewal Area also enables us to tap into approximatley $25 million worth of tax increment financing.
A committee of citizens with skills in financial analysis, legal contracts, and recreation will be created to determine the best management option for the rec center. This work will kick off as soon as possible if the bond is passed on November 7.
There will be fees to use the rec center. The fees will be used to cover the cost of operations as well as establish a long-term capital maintenance fund. It is too early to know what the fees will be, but city residents will certainly pay lower rates than non-residents.
The primary mission of the rec center will be to support the diverse recreational needs of Billings citizens. A secondary, though important, mission will be to support economic development through sports tourism. A key criteria for the success of the rec center will be accessibility to the people that are paying to build it.
The goal of this proposal is to improve the health and safety of Billings through increased recreational opportunities for all citizens.
The parks, trails, and recreation center in the package all work together towards that goal.
Separating projects out into different ballot questions would have severely compromised the integrity of the solution.