Tuesday, September 23rd, 2014
Coldwater council moves ahead on land buy
By Doug Drexler
COLDWATER - Village council Monday night approved an application for a $529,725 loan to pay for rural land to swap for industrial development.
The one-year note would pay for 34.821 acres in Butler Township that officials recently purchased at an auction for $15,500 per acre. Village officials hope to trade the land for a similar-sized lot adjacent to the village to lure industrial development, administrator-engineer Eric Thomas said.
The one-year note likely will carry an interest rate of about 2.75 percent, he said. The amount of the loan reflects a $10,000 down payment the village previously paid toward the purchase price.
Officials will soon send letters to owners of land contiguous to the village in search of a trade, Thomas said. If a swap is not made within the year, officials likely will renew the loan for a year before seeking long-term financing, he said.
The village in the meantime could rent the farmland to generate income, Thomas added.
If a swap is successful, officials will try to resell the contiguous land for development and use the money to pay off the note, he said.
Council also on Monday approved minor changes to the village's personnel policies including basing sick leave eligibility on days worked instead of hours so overtime would not qualify employees for additional sick leave. Council also approved allowing part-time employees to work up to 32 hours per week rather than 30 hours, and created policies for handling public records requests.
Thomas informed council members the solar project was delayed two to three weeks as contractors completed a larger endeavor in Illinois. The only work left on Coldwater's project is wiring and the connecting of converters, he said.
Council members also accepted about $80,000 in local government funds and endorsed a plan to adjust how the county allocates funds to townships. Thomas said he conferred with Butler Township officials who support the plan, which would result in more money for the municipality.
The county's proposed new system of administering local government funds to the 14 townships is based on population, valuation and road miles.