Lebanon City Council on Monday evening gave final approval to borrow $2.3 million to partly pay for the purchase and conversion of the former Harrisburg Area Community College building to the new downtown headquarters of city government and the police department.

By unanimous vote, council agreed to issue bonds in that amount, which it will repay over 30 years at an average fixed 2.3% interest rate. The average annual repayment will be $107,175.74.

It will be the first city bond issue in at least 40 years, according to Mayor Sherry Capello.

City officials have shared office space with Lebanon County at the Lebanon Municipal Building, 400 S. 8th St., since the 1960s.

The city bought the HACC building at 735 Cumberland St. for $2.2 million in June, and has begun renovations. It will lease part of the building back to HACC.

Interim financing since the time of the sale has been provided by nonprofit organization Growing Lebanon, LLC, through a “Cooperation and Developer’s Agreement” between the city, Growing Lebanon, and HACC.

Growing Lebanon is the project’s developer. It is affiliated with members of the Funk family, which owns local contractor Arthur Funk & Sons Inc. Arthur Funk & Sons is the city’s construction manager for the HACC project.

The total cost of the project will be about $6.7 million. Overall funding will come from three sources: money borrowed via the bond issue, a $2 million grant from Pennsylvania’s Redevelopment Assistance Capital Program, and the sale to Lebanon County of the city’s part of the Lebanon Municipal Building for $2.25 million, which has yet to be completed.

Capello said the city hopes to complete its move to the downtown City Hall by May 2022, and that the project was on track.

Other business

  • With the city’s fiscal year 60% complete, Capello reported that revenues received are at 86% of budget projections, and expenditures are at 49%.
  • Capello told council that she has reappointed Aria Karmazin, a registered architect, to the city’s Planning Commission for a second four-year term, effective Sept. 14, 2021.
  • Capello reported that minimum municipal pension plan contributions in 2022 will be $932,601 for police, $271,440 for paid firefighters, and no required contribution for non-uniformed employees.
  • Council approved an update on a cost-sharing agreement with PennDOT for a new bridge on North Lincoln Avenue over the Quittapahilla Creek. The city will contribute $113,225 toward the total cost of $2,260,000. The state and federal governments will pay the balance. Capello reported in January that the bridge is safe, but has a reduced weight limit. Work is expected to start in 2024 and take about two months.
  • Council approved specifications for bid requests for three years of required annual audits. This year’s cost was about $32,000, Capello said. She speculated that audit costs going forward might be slightly higher.
  • Police Chief Todd Breiner announced that trick-or-treat this year will be Thursday, Oct. 28, from 6 to 8 p.m.

Next council meetings

City Council’s next “pre-council” planning meeting will be on Thursday, Oct. 21, at 4:45 p.m. The next regular monthly council meeting will be on Monday, Oct. 25, at 6:30 p.m.

Both meetings are open to the public and will be held in council chambers, Room 210, Municipal Building, 400 S. 8th St., Lebanon.

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Chris Coyle

Chris Coyle writes primarily on government, the courts, and business. He retired as an attorney at the end of 2018, after concentrating for nearly four decades on civil and criminal litigation and trials. A career highlight was successfully defending a retired Pennsylvania state trooper who was accused,...