PRINCETON — The City of Princeton will sponsor Princeton Public Library's application for a $490,000 state grant to help build a 7,800 square feet expansion.
Library board members plan a May 15 public hearing and hope to submit the grant proposal by the May 25 deadline, then make application July 20 and hopefully learn whether it's funded in August.
The grant would be part of a financing package that includes $400,000 from the library and issuing up to $4.5 million in general obligation bonds. The $4.5 million bond issue, endorsed last month by the city council, would be repaid by the library board over 19 years in $359,000 annual installments generated through a 4 1/2 cent levy per $100 assessed valuation.
Attorney J. Robert Kinkle and Carole Hagedorn, vice president of economic development for the Economic Development Coalition of Southwest Indiana, asked the Princeton Common Council to make the grant application on the library's behalf, as the city did for a 2007-08 renovation project at the library.
Hagedorn and Kinkle told the council that the grant application's timing might have have month or two impact on the city's plans to apply for a master planning grant, depending upon when the city's income survey, a requisite for the master utility planning grant application, is completed.
Council member Jim Maglis asked whether the city has any other plans for grants that might be affected by sponsoring the library grant application.
Mayor Brad Schmitt said that while the city has "a lot of needs," he doesn't think the council wants to spend the money to go after other grants.
Prior to Monday's common council meeting, the Princeton Board of Works and Public Safety tabled action on a proposed $5,000 monthly economic development consulting contract with Revitalization LLC, after council member Sheri Greene questioned how the contract would be funded with only $10,000 appropriated for consulting services in the city's Economic Development Income Tax budget. Clerk-Treasurer Mindy Brines confirmed the EDIT budget would need to be amended by the common council to appropriate more money to fund the contract.
The mayor told the council during the library grant discussion that the city can't pursue state-level programs if there's no money to pay consultants "to go after these things..."
"We've to to be able to have funding...clearly, this council has not made it available," he said of the $10,000 ceiling on consulting spending in the EDIT budget. "Before me, it was a blank check," he said.
"Brad, you've never asked me," Maglis responded.
Regarding the library request, Schmitt told the council it's a valid project. "We don't have anything coming up," he said. "For the big grants, you've got to have the plans in place," and the mayor said he's met opposition to funding those plans.
"I don't feel like I've been informed," Maglis said. "I would like to know your vision."
"It doesn't matter what my vision is. It's what the people of the community want," Schmitt said, asserting that the consultants can help develop those plans.
"Excuse me, Brad, there's nobody here that doesn't want that (library) project," Council President Jan Ballard said, explaining that the question was whether the library application would affect the city's master utility plan grant process.
Greene said there's a communication problem, that the funding for the consulting contract tabled by the board of works earlier in the evening should have first come to the council for an appropriation.
"We're researching the proper method," Schmitt said.
"You don't inform us about anything until it comes to a meeting," she told him.
"You haven't been exactly friendly to deal with," he replied.
Ultimately, the council approved the library board's request.