By Tim Leeds/Havre Daily Newsemail@example.com
The city of Havre will apply for a $75,000 loan for the Havre Youth Baseball Association to use to upgrade Legion Field.
The City Council decided Monday that the city will apply for an INTERCAP loan through the state Board of Investments. The loan would be used by the baseball association to replace the bleachers, renovate the restrooms and make them handicap-accessible, and replace the wire fence in front of the grandstand with netting to make it easier for people to see the field.
Association president Katie Heath said members will reduce the cost of the project by doing all of the work themselves, except for the plumbing.
Money from INTERCAP loans is drawn down and used as needed, rather than loaned as a lump sum in advance.
City Council member Terry Schend, a member of the council's Parks and Recreation Committee, told the council that the baseball association had done a lot of research to make sure it would be able to repay the loan.
At a committee meeting in December, the Youth Baseball Association said it has about $15,000 in cash reserves, and that it would dedicate the proceeds of its concessions, which make at least $3,000 every year, and other fund-raisers to pay off the loan.
The association also is applying for a $75,000 grant from the Burlington Northern Santa Fe Foundation, which it would also use to pay off the loan.
Annmarie Robinson of Bear Paw Development Corp., which submits the applications for INTERCAP loans for the city, told the council the loan would apply toward the city's general obligation loan limit and that the city would be responsible for payments if the baseball association defaulted.
The council Monday also finalized the city's application for a $60,000 INTERCAP loan for the Havre Youth Hockey Association, which the association will use to repair and upgrade its ice-making machine. The council agreed to apply for that loan last fall.
During Monday's meeting, resident Charlie Grant asked how much debt the city has.
City clerk Lowell Swenson said the city is nowhere near its limit on general obligation loans, although he did not know exactly how much debt the city has. The maximum amount the city can have is about $3.2 million, he said.
The city now has two general obligation loans: one for improvements at the City-County Airport and the hockey association loan, Swenson said.
The city cannot go above about $92,000 in annual general obligation loan payments, and now owes about $17,000 a year for the two loans, Swenson said.
Mayor Bob Rice said he had checked into applying for a state Community Transportation Enhancement Program grant. CTEP money could not be used for improving the bleachers, but could possibly be used for other repairs, he said.
Robinson added using CTEP money could delay the project since public hearings and a bidding process would be required.
Council member Pam Hillery said she thinks the city should come up with a procedure to decide how to approve private organizations' requests for loans through the city. While she supports the hockey and baseball projects, Hillery said, if the city uses up its loan limit by applying for loans for private groups, it could not apply for loans for other things like street sweepers or snowplows.