Florala to explore bond issue for city projects

Published 11:59 pm Thursday, March 26, 2009

The Florala city council will vote Monday to take out a bond issue that could generate up to $1 million in cash for city projects.

“We’ve decided that (the bond indenture) is something we want to do,” Mayor Robert Williamson said Thursday. “What we need to decide Monday is how we want to do it and what we want to use that money for.”

Initially discussed early this month, the measure would refinance an $820,000 bond indenture from 2003. It currently has an estimated payoff of $425,000, requires an $8,500 monthly payment and would be paid in full in 2013. Preliminary plans for the funds include $365,000 to purchase an additional 90 acres adjacent to the industrial park; $100,000 for remodeling the building next door to city hall, which was recently vacated by the Utilities Board; $10,000 to create a Downtown Revitalization Board; $12,500 for police equipment including in-car camera systems and audio/video recorders, and $6,000 for matching grant funds.

“We need the money to make the improvements and have enough faith and a plan in place that (those improvements) will generate enough sales tax revenue to make them feasible,” he said.

Williamson said the council’s decision on a time frame for the note will dictate how much is borrowed.

“We want to keep our payment the same — $8,500 a month,” he said. “If we go for a full 30 years, that will give us roughly $1 million in new money. If we cut that time period in half, that’s about $450,000. What we need to decide Monday is which route we want to go.

“When we decide that, then we can decide what we will do with the money,” he said.

The special called meeting will be held at 6 p.m. and other topics of discussion will include awarding several bids for the Florala State Park Lake Jackson project currently under construction.