Friday, August 12, 2011

City to pursue bond for capital projects

Sun Valley leaders aim for Nov. 8 election


By REBECCA MEANY
Express Staff Writer

Sun Valley citizens may be asked in November whether they support a bond to pay for capital improvements in the city.

"The council agreed we should try to present a bond issue on the Nov. 8 election to fund a five-year capital plan," Mayor Wayne Willich said Wednesday.

The city's capital improvement program, recently renamed the 20-Year Capital Improvement Assessment, identifies needs for capital projects, fixed assets, facilities and land acquisition.

Last month, the council focused discussions on a shorter list of projects that could be accomplished within five years, including road and path repair and the purchase of an aerial tower vehicle used in fire fighting.

The council agreed at a special meeting Aug. 9 to pursue a $14.6 million bond issue in November to pay for the five-year capital improvements. That would enable construction to begin next year, when contracting bids still would be low.

"The interest rates at our bond rating level are excellent so the interest rates are low," Willich said at the meeting. "So we could get a double whammy of both low interest rates and also start construction in 2012 with low bids. If we do this correctly, we could make money for the taxpayers in this city."

Councilman Nils Ribi said the five-year plan is "very bondable." He proposed hiring an outside public relations firm to help sell the issue.

"It has to be done right," he said. "Yes, it'll cost us an additional $20,000 or whatever, but that is an expense that we must do so that we're successful with this program."

Councilwoman Joan Lamb agreed that a bond should be pursued.

"Can we put it off for a couple of years? Yeah, but we already have," she said. "And I think it's really time to take care of this."

The council will discuss the issue at its Aug. 18 meeting.

Rebecca Meany: rmeany@mtexpress.com




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