Avon looks at switching funding sources on stage, roads
AVON — The town is getting serious about using naming rights as another way to pay for the pavilion project currently underway at Nottingham Park.
So serious, in fact, that staff has placed an ordinance on the Oct. 14 town council agenda which, if approved, will change the funding source on the $3.8-million project away from certificate of participation bonds (originally floated as the funding mechanism), to the general fund — money that was supposed to go to street improvements — as the private naming rights could cause complications with the bonds.
In a switcharoo of sorts, millions of dollars in certificate of participation bonds would then be taken on to fund the road improvements, originally stated to come out of the general fund. Certificate of participation bonds require annual renewal and are not considered long-term debt, therefor do not require taxpayer approval.
“The original purpose of the certificates was to fund the construction of the Nottingham Pavilion using town hall as collateral for the debt,” wrote Assistant Town Manager Scott Wright of the ordinance on tonight’s agenda. “However, due to the council’s desire to seek a donor for the naming of the pavilion, a possible taxation issue arose regarding private activity rules for issuing tax-exempt debt. In order to avoid any of these issues in the future, the decision was made to use the proceeds of the debt to fund street improvements that were already identified in the town’s long-range capital improvements plan.”
Council member Jake Wolf says interest in the new pavilion has been expressed by Live Nation Entertainment, who owns, leases and/or operates more than 100 stage venues around the world.
“We’re engaging in serious conversations to the effect of getting Bob Dylan-level acts in this town,” Wolf said.
Additional money to help with this project will be welcome relief to the town. A nearly $2-million cost overrun was recently disclosed to the community, drawing public ire from many residents and stakeholders.
A fast-track project delivery method was to blame; the council put a rush on the project in order to have it complete by the 2015 Alpine World Ski Championships in February, starting construction on phase one of the project while while planning, and costs, had yet to be determined on phase two. Architect Brian Judge told the council in September that optional add-ons ($500,000), fees that weren’t accounted for ($650,000), and increasing cost of materials had created a $1.9-million override. At that point, the council had the option of stopping the project immediately, forgoing some of the add-ons to get the price down, or just accepting the increase, and they chose, unanimously, to accept the increase.
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