The mayor said the city's budget is already stretched and tax revenues are "flat" while demands for city services, from water system improvements to higher salaries for city employees, are growing.
The mayor contained his proposed requirement in a resolution that died for lack of a second.
Commissioner Jamey Gay, who made the successful motion favoring the larger garage option, said the commission will be fiscally prudent in selecting a scenario and will not saddle taxpayers with a huge debt. He said the commission should look at the garage as an "economic development project" that will produce "a lot of jobs with the first turn of the shovel" at the construction site.
Estimated cost is $5.182 million
Gay's motion was voted on after the commission reviewed 12 different financial scenarios for a 377-space garage and a 290-space garage. The estimated construction cost for the larger garage is $5.182 million while the pricetag for the smaller facility is $4.462 million.
The city will use a $1.71 million federal transportation grant and $442,000 from the state's Renaissance program to help fund the project. Additional funding could come from a bond issue, $400,000 in Third Street Development funds, and $343,000 from retail sales.
Most of the parking spaces would be used by a doctors' group that is planning an ambulatory surgery center on the site of the old Gilcher Hotel (200 spaces); Richard and Audrey Haisfield, who have purchased the old Hub Frankel Department Store building (35 spaces); and Farmers National Bank (35 spaces).
The motion said that the commission "preferred" the larger size garage but did not state which of the 12 financial scenarios would be used. That decision will be made, Gay said, after the commission receives input on the scenarios in the form of recommendations or approvals from the Parking Garage Steering Committee; state and federal agencies that have provided the grants; the Haisfields, doctors' group and Farmers National Bank; and Third Street Development Corp.
The 12 financial scenarios, prepared by City Engineer Earl W. Coffey, contain different bond figures, debt service timetables, and income and expense projections.
Ten-year cash flow estimates ranged from a net gain of $18,000 - that plus figure is the only net gain estimated in the 12 scenarios - to a net loss of more than $800,000, with most of the 11 scenaries showing losses in the $400,000 range.