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Lower interest rates save money for city

by Annette Beard | September 29, 2021 at 10:40 a.m.

City officials approved an ordinance refinancing bonds for the Water and Sewer Departent saving the department money.

The title of the ordinance is states "authorizing the issuance and sale of Water and Sewer refunding revenue bonds providing for the payment of the prinipal of and interest on the bonds...."

The interest rate on the bonds was 3.23%. The new rate is 2.21%.

Kevin Faught, senior vice president with Stephens Public Finance, told city officials that the maturity rate on the bonds was not increased.

"We just took advantage of lower interest rates," Faught said, saving about $25,000 annually. He said about $631,335 will be saved in cash flow savings.

Ryan Bowman, bond counsel with Friday, Eldridge and Clark, said the two bond issues were from 2009 and 2016.

Bowman and Faught also counseled city officials on the city sales tax which was approved in a special election Sept. 14.

"The proclamation will have to be published... that will allow the tax to go into affect Jan. 1," Bowman said. "The city will receive first collections in March."

Council members agreed to meet at 3 p.m. Thursday, Nov. 4, to discuss the city budget for 2022.

Street superintendent Nathan See told council members that he had advertised for bids to repair the Peck Road bridge and had not received any bids. "We've had zero bids. People are busy, this is where the economy is right now," See said.

"We could possibly do it in house with renting equipment. This is not going to be federally funded, it was denied by the president," See said, adding that there is a possibility of a 35% reimbursement from the state.

After discussion between council members and the city attorney, it was decided to approve a resolution waiving bidding and authorizing See to repair the bridge.

See said he plans to begin work on the extension and improvement on Patton Street in a couple of weeks, as soon as utilities are moved.

City Clerk Sandy Button said the city received a "perfect audit, no findings whatsoever for the 20th year in a row" as a result of the Legislative Joint audit. "It was a good audit."

One of several rezoning requests presented to the Council was sent back to the Planning Commission as a result of concerns expressed by Mark Longing, a property owner who owns property adjacent to the King Lane Apartments off Weston Street. He said he did receive the certified letter and did not attend the public hearing at the Planning Commission. He said he was strongly opposed to the rezoning and to the proposed plan.

"On behalf of people on Nelson Court, I urge you to deny this," Longing said.

City attorney Shane Perry, describing the situation as difficult, said the property owner requesting the rezoning had followed the rules. He told council members they could do multiple readings or could send it back to the Planning Commission. He said if the Council denies the request that was approved by the Planning Commission, it would be tabled for a year.

"Maybe ... send back to Planning for consideration with information they did not receive," Perry said. "This is what planners do. They hear this all the time. It feels like the right thing to do to go back to Planning."

Council member Cody Keene said: "In all fairness for all involved, sending back to Planning Commission would allow it to progress, instead of being denied and back for year."

Keene made the motion; Ginger Larsen seconded it and the vote was unanimous to approve.

In other business, the council:

• Approved appointment of Stephen Jones to the Parks Commission;

• Approved Res. 470 approving ad valorem taxes for 2022;

• Approved Res. 471 authorizing an agreement for emergency medical services;

• Approved Ord. 727 rezoning 15869 Easterling Road from A1 to R1 for G. Mathes;

• Approved Ord. 728 rezoning 772 W. Pickens Rd. from A1 to R1 for Jason Dixon;

• Approved Ord. 729 rezoning 4.3 acres on Patton Street from A1 to R2 multi-family for J. Ingalls;

• Approved Ord. 731 rezoning 5.82 acres on Lee Town Road from A1 to R2 multi-family; and

• Approved Ord. 732 rezoning 14.04 acres on Lee Town Road from A1 to R3 multi-family.

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