City approves funds/loans/grants for Chrysler clean-up

The Finance Committee and the Common Council met on Monday night to discuss three items having to do with the clean-up of the former Chrysler Kenosha Engine Plant.  The first was a proposed resolution by the mayor authorizing the borrowing of $1,342,826.17, providing for the issuance and sale of a note anticipation note therefor, and execution of a Ready for Reuse Program Loan Agreement.

The second and third items had to do with the approval of the Ready for Reuse Program loan and grant agreement between the city and the state of Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources (DNR).

The maturity date on the five-year loan agreement and the note anticipation note documents was originally March 23, 2017; the date was changed to July 23, 2017.

Former mayor John Antaramian passed out an exhibit outlining the grant and loan programs.  The city is accepting $1.5 million from the DNR to help with the remediation of the site.  The funding comes in the form of a $200,000 grant from the DNR and the loan amount stated above from the state that the city is expected to pay back within five years.  When the city pays back the loan, the DNR will refund that money to the city.  Frank Pacetti, city administrator, said that the city can use previously acquired federal funding to help pay for the state loan.  Matching funds from one source are being used to match funds from another source.  Alderperson David Bogdala thanked Antaramian for all of his hard work on this effort and for the “creative use of funds.”

Alderperson Rocco LaMacchia asked Antaramian how much the total bill will be to clean up the former Chrysler site, and Antaramian guessed it would be roughly $30 million.  Of course, that depends on what is found.  The city has already collected more than $15 million for remediation of the site.

Pacetti said that the work on the site is about three months behind schedule.  It was originally slated to be clear by next March.  “At the point of abandonment, that’s when our liability begins,” he said. Pacetti said that the Common Council will be facing a decision on whether or not to have the city take over the 109-acre site in about a year.

The former engine plant closed in October, 2010.  As of yet, there are no firm plans for the use of the site.

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