Three-project lease discussed by council


Seymour City Council members recently took another step in approving a nearly $10 million package to finance the construction of a new fire station, the remodeling of a second fire station and remodeling of city hall.

To obtain that financing, the city must complete a lease agreement with Fishers-based building corporation BW Development and its partners. BW Development will be responsible for financing the projects, including the property acquisition, design and construction of the new fire station.

The current Seymour Fire Station 1 is located at 318 East St. The city is looking to remodel and expand the building.  Submitted photo
The current Seymour Fire Station 1 is located at 318 East St. The city is looking to remodel and expand the building. Submitted photo

During Monday night’s council meeting, Councilman Dave Earley brought forward a resolution approving the form of the lease and taking other actions regarding that proposed lease. The resolution was approved on first reading in a unanimous 7-0 vote.

Mayor Matt Nicholson said the combined costs of all three projects will not exceed $9.9 million due to a stipulation in the proposed lease agreement.

Construction of the new fire station, which will replace Fire Station 2 at 500 W. Fifth St., will cost $5.75 million, Nicholson said.

Renovating city hall has a price tag of $1.7 million, and the remodeling of Fire Station 1 at 318 East St. will cost approximately $2.45 million.

Rich Starkey with the Indianapolis law firm Barnes and Thornburg LLP attended the meeting to answer questions about the proposed lease. He said the reason for all three projects being a part of the same lease is due to local governments in Indiana not being allowed to have more than 2% in debt.

He said school corporations commonly have buildings leased by building corporations because a lease under state statute is not considered debt, but rather an ongoing obligation.

Councilman Jerry Hackney asked Starkey how it’s possible to initiate a lease on city hall, a building the city already owns.

Starkey said the ownership of the building will be transferred to BW Development, and they will title it during the time that finances are being figured out. The city will receive the title back once the work is paid off.

Fire Chief Brad Lucas first proposed the fire station project to the council in November 2020 to replace Fire Station 2, which is 54 years old and is too small.

The new station would be located on 4 acres in the 1000 block of West Second Street on property owned by Premier Companies.

The project at city hall at 301 N. Chestnut St. includes the replacement of the heating and cooling system and other improvements as part of an emergency renovation project.

In mid-May, most city hall offices were moved across the street at the former Reedy Financial Group building at 211 N. Chestnut St. That move became necessary after the HVAC system quit working in March after a chiller went down. That caused a leak and substantial damage to the interior of city hall and left the building without heat or air conditioning.

There will be a public hearing on the proposed lease during the council’s July 26 meeting. A second public hearing about lease will happen Aug. 9. Both meetings will be at 7 p.m. in the training room upstairs at the Seymour Police Department, 205 N. Ewing St.

As for when the lease will be signed and agreed upon, Starkey said he expects it to be mid- to late September before anything is final.

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