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City May Ask Voters Again on Parking Garage Repairs, Says It Would Save $585K

Voters failed to approve general obligation bonds for the $3.3 million project.

The city may go back to voters a second time and ask them to approve financing for repairs to the city parking garage in an effort to save $585,862. 

Voters in November failed to approve a proposition to allow the city to issue $3.3 million in general obligation bonds to pay for repairs to the city parking garage. 

But St. Charles City Council members on Tuesday said the city has to make repairs on the crumbling structure sooner rather than later.

Voters turned down financing the cost with general obligation bonds, which would use a lower interest rate. Instead the city would have to use certificates of participation, which will cost the city an additional $585,862.

Michael Spurgeon, director of administration, said some people may question why the city would move forward with the project in spite of the vote. 

The parking garage was built in 1976 of concrete and is crumbling in some places. The city has roped off several parking spaces that are unsafe and may have to block off entire staircases. 

"This is a safety issue and once again, we were just asking for them to approve the financing of the project," he said. "There's a significant savings that could have been yielded." 

St. Charles could choose to put the issue on the April 2 ballot but would incur some additional cost to do so. 

"I think with more education it would pass," Councilwoman Mary West, Ward-4, said. 

Council members said they talked to several people who thought the city was asking for approval to build a brand new parking garage. 

Councilman Mike Klinghammer, Ward-8, said he thinks the city's information campaign was drowned out by other issues on the ballot. 

"A half a million dollars is a half a million dollars; that's not chump change. I don't think it would really slow the process down," Klinghammer said. "

Debra Aylsworth, director of public works, said it was fine to delay the project to put it before voters again. 

"I wouldn't want to wait a year to go under contract," she said. 

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