Residents will likely be asked in April whether they are willing to support—financially—the Brainerd Community Center project.
Trustees are slated to vote at their Jan. 8 meeting on the non-binding referendum question language that village staff has been directed to draft.
Should residents support the measure, it would allow the village to, on behalf of Brainerd Community Center Inc., sell $3.5 million in bonds. The money would help fund various projects, like fixing the roof and doors, said Scott Adams, a member of the Brainerd foundation's executive board.
The financial impact to residents would be about $47.50 a year for 10 years on a $400,000 home, Adams said.
Brainerd Community Center Inc. has already received 1,054 petition signatures to put the non-binding referendum on the ballot, but village officials said the language is vague.
"I think it's pretty vague. I don't think it's anything that our board, or anyone from your board, would really want," Mayor Terry Weppler told Adams at the board's meeting Tuesday night. He suggested that the village work on making that language more clear and then submit the referendum question for the ballot rather than the foundation filing the petition to put the question on the ballot. The latter would need to be done no later than Jan. 7.
Trustee Donna Johnson agreed that clarity is needed for the referendum question. She wants the language to be simple enough so that voters at the polls in April aren't confused, saying, "What are they asking me to do?"
Educating the community will be key, officials agreed—particularly when it comes to the financial aspect.
"We've never seen any information regarding that," Trustee Drew Cullum said of the $3.5 million. "Personally, I don't think that's enough."
He wants to "make sure we know what that number really does."
"We want to make sure it works. We have numbers that show that it will work," Adams said. He added that the foundation is fine-tuning its business plan and working on a professional video that will show not only how the building will be used but also who will use it.
Trustees support having a town meeting—or a series of town meetings—to educate residents about the referendum.
Weppler added that there will also be information on the village website and in the newsletter "so the residents tell us what they want us to do."
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