Saturday, October 03, 2009

TOP STORY >> Sewers get $18M bond

Leader staff writer

The Jacksonville Sewer Com-mission got the council’s blessings Thursday to proceed with obtaining more than $18.2 million in bonds for repairs and expansion, with the promise that it would not mean a rate increase.

Alderman Bob Stroud said the sewer commission had been a good steward of the people’s money and called the move a no-brainer since there would be no rate increase.

Gary Smith, representing a bond company that is working with the sewer department, told the council that the rates right now were very favorable. “The rate will be less than five percent on a 30 year note. It’s a very attractive time to borrow funds,” he said.

The commission plans to spend $5.1 million on rehabilitation and repairs, $3.9 million on additions and expansion of the system, $4.4 million to pay off old loans, $1 million for sewer work at the proposed new state fairgrounds site and $700,000 in debt service and administrative costs.

Larry Gaddis with Crist Engineers said the city had about 175 miles of underground sewers that are about 70 years old and difficult to maintain.

He said the sewer department had been very proactive and had gone 15 years without a permit violation, and it was a record they wanted to continue.

In other council business:

The council approved a resolution supporting the city’s participation in the Lonoke-White project and granted the mayor authority to execute an agreement with the Lonoke-White Public Water Authority.

Joining the water group will help Jacksonville secure good sources of water for at least the next 50 years.

Aldermen voted to waive competitive bidding to purchase a scoreboard system for the ball fields at Dupree Park. The cost will be almost $20,000. The council also approved spending $42,000 for new fencing on fields 2 and 3 at Dupree Park. It was also agreed that the city would spend $25,000 to renovate the ladies locker and shower room at the community center.

The council entered into a contract, at a cost of $20,000 for the rest of the year, with Retail Attractions in an effort to bring more retail businesses and big chain restaurants to the city.