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Andy Council converts debt plan

The Andalusia City Council Tuesday approved resolutions authorizing changes to a $2 million local line of credit, converting a portion of it to long-term debt.

City clerk John Thompson explained that the city has had a credit line with CCB Community Bank for cash flow purposes. Because the city’s cash reserves have improved, he said, it no longer needs the $2 million credit line.

“Common sense tells you to take the cash to reduce or pay off the credit line,” he said. “But our investment bankers tell us, to improve the maximum effect, not to use reserves for that. They should be held in reserve for when we really need them.”

Instead, the city will convert $1.5 million of the credit line to long-term debt in the form of a five-year note, at a fixed rate of 3.85 percent. The remaining $500 thousand of the credit line will still be available for cash.

Mayor Earl Johnson said with the change, the city will begin paying down the debt, while it has only been paying interest on the debt.

“All of these things go in a mix to get our credit rating improved,” Johnson said.

In other business, the council:

• Designated Civil Southeast, Inc. as the engineering firm to oversee a sidewalk project on the west side of town.

• Reappointed Martha Duggan to the Tourism and Relocation Committee.

• Abated property at 306 King St., 212 Barton St. and 101 Williams St. for weed violations.

• Agreed to participate in the statewide back to school tax holiday in August.

• Contributed $6,000 to the Alabama High School Rodeo Association, which will hold state finals here this summer

• Heard a report from Retail Strategies, a Birmingham firm with which the city has a three-year contract to identify retail opportunities and recruit new businesses. Representatives of the firm also met with council members, developers, Realtors and investors in a separate meeting following the regular council meeting.