With the end of the pool planning process approaching, the Fairbury City Council agreed to approve the first reading of an ordinance that would issue $1.5 million in bonds to begin covering the costs of the project.
Phil Lorenzen of D.A. Davidson visited the council members at their meeting on Tuesday to discuss their funding options. He stated that with interest rates currently dropping, now would be a good time for the city to issue a set of bonds to begin covering the cost of designing the project.
“You’ve got a $5 million project approved by the voters,” said Lorenzen. “I think it’s incumbent upon the community now, with public input and so forth, to look at the best overall long-term facility design and cost. It relates directly to the what the tax impact is.
“Most buyers in the marketplace are avoiding going long-term because there’s continual conversation about seeing interest rates increase. In fact, we saw a very marked increase at the end of the general election in November. Interest rates spiked about a percentage point across the board. They have returned back to the normal levels they were in October of last year. Maybe now is an appropriate time to look seriously at the issuance of some of the bonds to take advantage of the current marketplace,” Lorenzen continued.
He advised the council to issue a series of bonds up to $1.5 million to lock in interest rates and to begin moving forward with the project.
“It will lock in a portion of the money so you have cash to spend for initial project costs for the architectural, engineering fees and so forth,” said Lorenzen. “Perhaps demolition of the facility that’s existing. It also is very critical, to me, that that would allow you the first step to go ahead and put in place as Collin (Collin Bielser, City Administrator) has indicated in the budget some sense of collection of taxes initially to start that 20 year collection of taxes to go ahead and pay for that item.”
Since not enough council members were present at the meeting Tuesday, they were unable to waive the readings to enact the ordinance right away. Instead, they approved the first reading of the ordinance to issue $1.5 million in bonds. The council plans to waive the rest of the readings during their next meeting on Sept. 19 to enact the ordinance before the city’s budget is approved.
On Monday, Sept. 11, the Pool Steering Committee will meet at 6 p.m. to discuss the design of the pool. The meeting is open to the public. Bielser notes that they will continue to host public meetings and forums to develop a pool design that is adequate for the community’s need. He reiterated that issuing the bond will help the city to progress with the pool project.
“The project will begin incurring costs,” said Bielser. “The final cost of the pool will be determined later this year and any difference will be made up with another bond issued in 2019.”
Also during the meeting, the council voted to approve the appointment of Steve Zimmerman to serve as the Emergency Services Coordinator. Zimmerman, who is replacing Chris Goeking, will begin serving as Chief of the Fairbury City Fire Department on Oct. 1.