Updated: Oct 2, 2020
I have asked Plymouth Council to hold a series of events to discuss the Township Campus renovation project.
This project, which was first mentioned in 2018 has been progressing through many stages behind the scenes. Consultants presented the near-final plans during the September 2020 Council Workshop, which is open to the public but does not allow for public comment. This Council Workshop marked the first time this project was mentioned in public since 2018. I only stumbled across the presentation video while researching other topics and I was the only public comment during the Council's Monthly meeting on this subject on September 14, 2020.
After posting our first article of this series Mr. Manero responded with the following public comment on TalkinPlymouth.
"There is a passage in the article that refers to our 2018 "Reaching out and Planning Ahead" presentation as "outdated". I think the only thing that makes it outdated is the fact that the issues with the aging township building have only gotten worse since then.
In 2018, we started sharing this information in the form of 4 well-attended town hall meetings at the GPCC and Plymouth Fire Co. We shared the information there and in this presentation about the building's conditions and the concept of possibly selling the sewer system to pay for it. We spent a lot of time since then hiring professionals to provide us with designs for the necessary renovations.
That process finally concluded over the summer and last week the fully detailed options for the renovation were presented for over an hour at our public workshop meeting.
We have put the decision off for long enough... the time has come for us to decide what we want to do with this building. The roof, the hvac system, and several other deficiencies are getting harder and harder to place band aids over. For many items, our buildings and grounds department cannot even get thr parts needed to make repairs because our systems are so old.
As I mentioned in a previous comment, it is a really good time to borrow money and the longer we wait to do this, it is likely that construction costs will only increase and we will spend more and more money fixing our current issues.
We would never undertake a project of this magnitude lightly, and at this point we have to do some forward thinking here and make a decision that is smart financially and that will prevent us from having to spend this kind of money again for a long time.
There will always be some reason in front of us not to do it, but you also can't keep putting expensive bandages on something just so you can try to wait for a better time.
We have the task now of deciding exactly to what extent we want to renovate this building. We could do the minimal of addressing immediate needs and updating the systems (this will mean that we will continue to spend money on the building frequently to address other areas to keep updating it) or we can do it all now so that we have a building that will take us into the next 40 years or so with minimal future needs.
The public largely opposed our plan to sell the sewer system to pay for this project, so we did not take that action. Financing the project and paying for it on our own is now the path we will have to take. It will have to come from tax revenue... which will need to be likely a small increase in real estate taxes, earned income taxes, or a combination of both.
Keep in mind a few factors: - The township share of our taxes are currently and still would be very low. - This is a project that is not a matter of if, but when. It would not be good government for us to keep kicking this can down the road. It is a major need that will not go away."
In response to Mr. Manero's comment we would point out, while the majority of citizens seem to agree items need to be addressed, what was presented was surely the "Cadillac" version of what Council "could" put into scope. We feel the public deserves the right to have another workshop, or a series of workshops, to discuss the plan in-depth with the Council and allow the Council to then go back and make changes or develop the scope based on the feedback received.
Why would the solution deserve any less attention than the original presentation of the problem?
We sent an email to Council and you can see their response in Part 3 of our series.
Join our conversation here.