Archive for Thursday, August 23, 2007

Council nod given for bond issue

August 23, 2007

Baldwin City Council members took steps to finance several major projects, raised water and sewer rates and issued proclamations recognizing Baker University and Rick Weaver at Monday's meeting.

The council authorized a bond issue to cover storm water improvements at $465,000, improvements to Sixth Street at $500,000 and to pay off a temporary note of $1.29 million used to finance the Women's Bridge ($221,075) and Downtown Streetscape ($554,854) projects, as well as pay for the purchase of the Baldwin City Municipal Golf Course ($495,000).

But, the final amount of the bond hasn't been determined. There may be other items added, including refinancing a $1.09 bond if rates are favorable, but it is not to be more than $3.5 million.

"Where we're at is once you determine what projects you want to do, we'll prepare the documents," said Greg Vahrenberg of Piper Jaffray, the bond company. "We've been looking at some of your refinancing."

The storm water improvements will replace seven culverts in the city. The Sixth Street project will be done in partnership with Douglas County with both entities providing half the funding.

"How comfortable are we with $500,000 for Sixth Street?" said Council President Amy Cleavinger.

"He felt the numbers were still pretty reasonable," said Utility Director Bill Winegar, referring to county public works director Rick Browning?

City Administrator Jeff Dingman also told the council that he thinks renovation of the second floor of City Hall will cost around $45,000. That's for new windows, tuck-pointing and air conditioning. The council had asked him for the figures.

"I was hoping it would be under $50,000," said Council Member Ken Wagner. "My desire is to pay for this out of reserves and not putting it in a bond issue."

The second floor of the building isn't in use and is in disrepair.

"I think its money well spent," said Council President Amy Cleavinger. "I think we have an obligation to keep it from deteriorating any more than it has."

Mayor Gary Walbridge read the two proclamations. The first was to recognize Baker University for its 150 years and to designate the 2007-2008 school year for its sesquicentennial anniversary. It is the oldest university in Kansas and will be celebrating the anniversary all year long. Weaver was recognized for establishing, organizing and running the annual Bulldog Bash, a fundraising event for the Baldwin School District the past eight years. Aug. 31 has been designated "Rick Weaver Day" in Baldwin City.

The council also approved unanimously a bid from Killough Construction in Ottawa for an estimated 1,939 tons of asphalt to pave streets with. Cost is $85,703.80, which was well below expectations. The price was $2.30 per ton cheaper than last year.

Scheduled for overlays this year are: First Street, from High Street to U.S. Highway 56; Second Street, from Fremont Street to U.S. 56; Third Street, from High to Fremont streets; the parking area in Grove Park; and Seventh Street from Newton to High streets. An alternative is Dearborn Street from Third to Fourth streets.

On second reading, the council approved raising the water and sewer rates. The water rate ordinance increases the base monthly rate from $6 to $6.50 per month and the cost of 100 cubic feet of water goes from $6.54 to $7.20. The sewer rate increase bumps the base monthly rate from $14.70 to $16 per month and usage rate from $3.50 per 100 cf of water to $3.85.

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