Email to the Largo Mayor and Commissioners
City Commissioners and Mayor,
Please address my concerns below and email me a response. Budget information online addresses upcoming issues and suggests more cuts to staff, along with other cuts. Why then are the below issues going to happen? #1 Is Mary Gray Black and Cutis Homes the only ones on this board with any sense? With the budget getting tighter, employees losing their jobs, you now pick this time to borrow money for a community center? We can get the community center when the economy gets better and we have the money to pay for it. Please do not borrow the money for this project. #2 $90,000 for an art project? Please tell me you are using some kind of grant money for this. I am a big fan of all artists...but it is not the right time to support this project and especially an out of town artist with local tax dollars. #3 How much money was wasted building then tearing down the clock tower? #4 Please make sure no city employee will be working on the Mayor's Golf Tournament set for Friday, April 9th. If it is staffed by all volunteers and the mayor is not using city paid time to play golf, then this event is ok, otherwise if you want to have this kind of function, then it should be only staffed by volunteers. I appreciate the hard work the commissioners do, but please step back and rethink some of your decisions. The budget of Largo needs to stay balanced, our tax money spent wisely and it's important to keep city employees employed.
Thank you for your time,
I am writing in regard to your e-mail about the Community Center.
The City will borrow $10 million at an interest rate of approximately 3.5% for the construction and furnishing of the new Community Center. Both principal and interest on the bank loan will be paid from the Local Option Sales Tax Fund within the ten-year period of the current Penny For Pinellas. No property taxes or other general revenues of the City will be used. A ten-year term for borrowing for construction of a building is very conservative; the average person has a home mortgage of fifteen to thirty years. Both interest rates and construction costs are at very low levels because of the current economy. Once the economy improves, the cost of construction will increase faster than the general inflation rate. Since we are able to borrow money at such a low rate, we are confident that it is less costly to borrow the money today and build at today's costs, than to save until we can pay cash at a future date at higher construction costs.
Regarding the mosaic artwork planned for the new Community Center, Ms. Kessler was one of 110 artists who submitted proposals for artwork for this new building. The general requirements for the artwork included that it be an integral part of the structure of the building and that it complement the architectural design of the building and its park-like setting. Ms. Kessler was recommended by a committee comprised of City staff and residents. The residents either have an arts background or are users of the current facility.
The $10 million budget for the construction of the building and associated sitework (including the parking lot, drainage ponds, and park amenities) and all furnishings and equipment also included one percent of the building cost ($90,000) for artwork. The total cost of the Community Center project is charged to the Local Option Sales Tax Fund, which accounts for the City's share of the proceeds from the Penny for Pinellas sales tax. These funds are restricted to infrastructure projects, such as new recreation buildings, and cannot be used for operating costs or salaries.
The mosaics will not be the only artwork in the building. Provision has been made for hanging a variety of art in the building corridors for the enjoyment of the facility users. This artwork will include both artists from the local community and individuals who will produce art in classes in the new Community Center.
As part of the funding of the mosaic artwork, Ms. Kessler has granted the City permission to sell prints of her mosaics. We are currently in the process of making this a reality.
If you have any questions regarding this art project or the overall Community Center project, please feel to contact me or Assistant City Manager Henry Schubert at 727-587-6744 or e-mail email@example.com.
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