City to bond 'needed' projects
In April, the common council heard from Treasurer Michael White, who presented them with the city’s proposed bond and bond anticipation note borrowing, which will all be part of a capital improvement plan.
As part of that, more than 20 projects were proposed to help the city complete needed projects without severely raising taxes.
By taking these projects out of the general fund budget, the city is able to pay the amount over time, lessening the tax impact.
They will have 10 years from when the bond was approved to decide if and when they want to complete a project. It has been several years since the city has bonded a project and they said they will not do it again for years.
A capital improvement committee met, going through the list of projects and recommended items that were most in need at this time.
The major projects include the roof replacement at the municipal building, at the highway and parks salt barn, at the water filtration plant and the roof replacement and structural repair at the filter building at the waste water treatment plant. The project has a total cost of $2.7 million and will have equal amounts that come out of the general fund, water fund and sewer fund.
“They have to be done,” said Mayor Michael Tucker.
The roof replacements will began as soon as possible, being completed before winter.
The other major project to be completed if approved is the demolition of the existing parking ramp in the city and the creation of a surface lot in its place. The project is estimated to cost $2.65 million and will be completed around the beginning of 2013.
Out of the all of the original 22 proposed projects, the city has selected to potentially focus on 14. The rest will be on hold.
According to a recommendation from the capital improvement committee, If all the potential projects are completed, the total cost the city would go to bond for —general, water and sewer fund — would be $7.67 million.
Alderwoman Anne McCaffrey also brought a list of the 14 projects, giving her recommendations and making additional cuts. She suggested that the proposed projects be completed, but not to give the departments the entire amount requested in the first couple years, lessening the amount the city will have to pay back in payments.
“It’s going to be a big pill to swallow in the first few years,” said McCaffey.
Some of her suggestions included, instead of allotting the entire $250,000 to the parks department for upgrades, that only $100,000 is given now. They can still repair and replace the tennis courts at Altro Park, at a cost of $20,000, but then choose from the remaining funds the most needed upgrades.
She also suggested giving the department of public works only $200,000 instead of the full $292,900 for the purchase of new trucks. She said they can pick the most needed ones now and the rest of the funds can be saved for the future.
If the city goes with her list, they would go to bond for a total of $6.6 million.
The capital improvement committee will meet again to make their final recommendation and the council will vote on the bonding during Wednesday’s meeting.
Tucker said the city has been putting off buying new equipment and vehicles and making upgrades for several years, so a lot of the equipment is in bad shape and things have to be replaced.
“This is an opportune time,” said Tucker, referencing the low interest rates. “Though they’re big numbers, this is the time to do it.”
He said by completing the “big ticket” items now, they will be paying less overall, than if they waited and interest rates go back up.
Common Council President Joseph Kibler agreed it could cost the city more if they do not go to bond for the full amount now. He said they have been “bandaging” all of their equipment and they should replace them while the rates are low.