$166M Jail plus $242M Alliant Energy Center = Fiscal Disaster

Posted March 13th, 2017 @ 7:13 AM by

Now, I’m not an expert on the county budget, nor the traditional fiscal conservative, but there is no way in hell this is going to work! The most the county has borrowed in their last 10 budgets is $49M and they are already paying back $29M a year in debt service. This would multiply that by 10 – even if its spread out over multiple years, it seems unlikely we can afford all this in the age of Trump. And if they have the money for all this, what if they put $100,000,000 into affordable housing?

Just so everyone knows, the county borrows money over 20 years typically. Then that money is paid out of the operating budget over the next 20 years – meaning that money won’t be available for Human Services or the Sheriff’s department or to clean up our lakes. In order to spend all this money, they would have to spend money on only these two project over the next 10 years and nothing else to spend at the same rate they are at now. As you can see, debt service expenditures have doubled in the past 10 years . . .

– $40,478,400 ($37,406,100 in borrowing) – see page 39.
– $29,137,933 in debt service in operating budget (page 46)
– $42,361,985 in expenditures ($39,102,585 in borrowing) – see page 38.
– $27,219,000 in debt service (page 45)
-$51,625,950 in expenditures ($49,738,381 in borrowing) – see page 39
-$24,276,000 in debt service (page 49)
– $32,549,375 in expenditures ($29,816,575 in borrowing) – see page 36.
– $20,395,300 in debt service (see page 42)
– $22,882,412 in expenditures ($22,145,997 in borrowing) – see page 37
– $17,213,308 in debt service (see page 44)
– $26,146,811 in expenditures ($21,620,211 in borrowing) – see page 36
– $16,390,700 in debt service (see page 42)
– $29,030,156 in expenditures ($27,334,456 in borrowing)
– $16,775,400 in debt service (see page 42)
– $41,894,183 in expenditures ($39,844,783 in borrowi8ng)
– $15,721,300 in debt service (see page 44)
– $20,897,549 in expenditures ($18,769,239 in borrowing)
– $15,156,200 in debt service (see page 40)

I tried reading the jail study, to find out how many years they expected to do the phased construction, but I didn’t see it. I kinda doubt they plan to spread it out over 10 years.

I also tried looking at the powerpoint presented to the county board on the Alliant Energy Center as well as the 276 page draft presented to the committee on Thursday, but I couldn’t figure out a timeline for that either.

I’m also wondering, is the new Room Tax Commission going to spend its funds on the Alliant Energy Center? Is that part of the plan? That would provide some relief. Or is the plan to TIF a huge portion of this? There has to be some other plan than borrowing . . . I’m wondering where this is all getting hashed out and how one could find out more details on all this? Oh, right. It’s the county. Nevermind. They’ll tell us when they are good and ready. Too bad we don’t have a good reporter in there asking tough questions.

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