Over the past eight months there have been a lot of questions regarding the Natural Resource Center 63-20 proposal. This monologue has been typically speculative. Until about 2 weeks ago the 63-20 was under a Forest Service imposed non disclosure agreement as were all the other developers that offered proposals for the Forest Service office building. To this day the Forest Service will not release the other proposals so it is not with certainty I can say that most likely all the other proposals were for an office building, not a campus that will house more than one outdoor and recreation management agency.
In speaking with the President of the NRC and Salida City Administrator Jack Lewis I will state these facts: As of this moment there is no deal. During the 8 months to investigate the protest filed by one of the bidders, bond rates have significantly risen. This changes the financials of the project. This has to be dealt with by a modification of lease costs by the USFS. Until a lease is signed by the USFS and Department of Wildlife, making the project financially feasible, there is no deal.
Hopefully I can clear up some misconceptions regarding the Natural Resource Center 63-20. First the creation of the 63-20 corporation protects the City from any financial outlay or default responsibilities. There are two exceptions. If the Forest Service and the DOW default by not paying their lease fees and the result is the 63-20 also defaults, the land committed to the project by the city would be foreclosed upon and become the bond companies property. Simply, the 18 acres or so of the Vandaveer property committed to the NRC project is the collateral for the bond that funds the project. That bond is paid by the Forest Service and Department of Wildlife’s leases. Second. There are two city employees on the board of the NRC 63-20 and one past County Commissioner. When the city employees are working on the NRC they will not be available to do city business. This is supported by the City Council in that the City Council placed the Natural Resource Center on the top of their priority list. The Council understood the trade off at the time they stated their priorities.
There have been questions regarding who foots the bill for the water and sewer service the Natural Resource Center will need? There is already sewer at the proposed NRC site. The placement of water service and meters is also the complete financial responsibility of the NRC 63-20 and will not be an additional burden on the water or sewer users of Salida. The City Council could choose to install a larger water line to service future development. Those costs would be born by the Water/Sewer Enterprise Fund. That decision has not been discussed by the Council yet. I do expect the issue to come up. The 63-20 is also responsible for all development tap fees and charges associated with the project.
All incidental and other costs incurred by the NRC are the 63-20’s concern not the City’s. For example all development, bid presentation and legal costs are the responsibility of the NRC. Up to now, all the associated costs are speculative until a contract is siged and money starts coming into the NRC coffers.
Finally, after the lease is paid off, the project becomes the City of Salida’s and the Natural Resource Center 63-20 is dissolved.
Remember the Natural Resource Center is not a reality yet. No leases have been signed although negotiations are underway.