At its next meeting on Wednesday, Feb. 28, the Town Council of Portola Valley plans to talk about asking for a $4 million line of credit with San Mateo County so as to ensure that construction plans for a new Town Center complex -- a Town Hall, library, community hall and recreation facilities -- proceed on schedule.
The bid packages for the project are expected March 21, with decisions on the bids possibly ready a week later. This would allow construction to begin in June or July, said Mayor Ted Driscoll. Any delay in this schedule could result in a partial unroofed building(s) sitting in the rain next winter, Mr. Driscoll said.
The Portola Valley Community Fund has collected some $10.5 million in private donations for the $20 million project.
Other funds: The Town Council has set aside $3 million. The project budget includes $1.6 million for contingencies (still unallocated), the town receives about $400,000 more a year in property tax revenues than when this project started, and the town has about $1.8 million in additional property tax revenues obtained recently in a settlement with the county.
A loan may not be necessary. If one is, it might well be for less than $4 million. The council is likely to ask for an interest rate similar to what the county would normally earn on the money -- about 4 percent. The town would have up to 10 years to repay it, the mayor said.
Another way to complete the project's funding would be to ask the voters to approve a general obligation bond. This would require approval of two-thirds of the voters and would deeply engage the community, but the money probably would not be available in time for a summer groundbreaking and one of the buildings might be delayed by a year.
What do you think of this idea of the town borrowing up to $4 million? How would you prefer that the town obtain the money? Would it be worth it to you to exchange a delay for the community involvement inherent in an election for a general obligation bond measure?