City of Westfield proposes $500K annual payments over loan

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City leaders in Westfield have proposed that the city be repaid $500,000 annually for a $6 million loan made for Grand Park in 2014.

Westfield City Council members, who met for more than three hours during their Aug. 8 meeting, discussed the matter to determine how much should be repaid and whether the annual loan payments should be adjusted depending on the city’s financials regarding Grand Park.

In 2014, a resolution was approved in which the council loaned $6 million of utility sale proceeds to the city for use within Grand Park. The city is looking to possibly sell Grand Park or enter into a public-private partnership to operate the complex, which is owned by the Westfield Redevelopment Commission.

The original agreement in 2014 did not specify a repayment structure regarding the loan, but city officials had different proposals about how much should be repaid annually. At one point during the meeting, council member Troy Patton requested that the $6 million be paid in full the following business day.

Council member Joe Edwards also asked the council if it wanted to be more aggressive regarding the $500,000 annual repayments, but the city’s chief of staff, Jeremy Lollar, asked it to consider being nimble in case the city has a bad year financially.

Lollar, who said that Grand Park was intended to build the city’s revenue base, said he plans to develop a formal schedule regarding the loan repayment. 

Council member Mike Johns said after the meeting that he’d like to see more than $500,000 be repaid on an annual basis, but stressed he’d like to see a formula implemented that would indicate how much should be paid depending on how the city performs financially. Still, Johns said he’d like to get the matter resolved “sooner than later.”

“It’s been out there for a number of years,” he said.

Johns also said when the money is repaid, he thinks it should go directly into the city’s infrastructure fund. Among the city’s needs includes work along Ind. 32 that involves a streetscape project estimated to cost $3 million to $4 million, according to Johns.

If the city had the money available, it wouldn’t have to pursue a bond to borrow funding, Johns said.

The agreement for the loan repayment will have to be approved by the Westfield Redevelopment Commission and Westfield City Council members, according to City Attorney Manny Herceg.

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