Archive for Thursday, November 18, 2004

City bonds combined to save money

November 18, 2004

Baldwin's decision to combine a few outstanding electrical revenue bonds could save the city several thousand dollars and provide some extra funding for additional capital improvements.

At Monday's meeting, the Baldwin City Council approved in a 4-0 vote to refund five outstanding electrical revenue bonds into a consolidated general obligation electric utility system refunding bond. Council Member Ken Wagner was absent from the meeting.

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Greg Vahrenberg from Piper Jaffray told the council if the city combined its five revenue bonds, which were issued from 1999-2002, Baldwin could save more than $117,000 in annual payments, in part because interest rates are currently favorable for this type of refunding.

Vahrenberg said this action would also remove the current stipulation requiring the city to carry a debt service reserve fund, which currently contains nearly $755,000.

City Administrator Jeff Dingman said since a reserve fund would no longer be required, the $755,000 could be used to reduce the amount of the new bond, and a portion could be used for capital improvement projects.

The finance committee is recommending using two-thirds of the reserve fund for the new bond, leaving $250,000 for capital improvement projects.

One project suggestion presented to the council involves using the $250,000 to fund the final portion of the electrical infrastructure upgrade, mainly the neighborhood west of Baker University.

Mayor Ken Hayes said the infrastructure upgrade is needed, but he would like to see the city departments' top improvement priorities before the council decides how to use the extra money.

In other business, the city council:

  • Heard a first reading on amending the front and rear yard setback requirements for R-zoned districts from 30 to 25 feet. Tina Rakes, Baldwin codes administrator, said the change in requirements is to maintain uniformity in the regulations.

The council will make a decision on the issue at its Dec. 6 meeting.

  • Heard a report from Alicia Janesko from the Lawrence/Douglas County Chamber of Commerce. Janesko told the council the county saw a large increase in businesses that opened in the county in 2004 compared to 2003.

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