Andalusia City Council approves $11.7 million bond

Published 12:56 pm Thursday, June 23, 2022

The Andalusia City Council on Tuesday approved an $11.7 million bond issue to move a variety of projects forward and to reorganize current debt.

The bond issue will be used for continuing the city’s efforts for the redevelopment of downtown, improvements at Johnson Park, street resurfacing, sidewalks, and the construction of a new park.

The new park, currently referred to as Heritage Park, is planned for the former rail yard on S. Cotton Street.  The park will include a water feature, walking and biking trails, an amphitheater, pavilion, and a carousel.

The city is also looking to add at least one new parking lot that would be located on Pear Street, between S. Three Notch and S. Cotton streets.

Improvements to Johnson Park will include a new batting cage and the placement of permanent lights and restrooms at the T-ball fields.

Ken Funderburk of Stifel assisted the city in the selling of the bonds. He reported to the council that the city is in good financial condition. The city is selling two bonds — one taxable and the other tax exempt. Funderburk said the interest rate on the bonds are a combined 3.9 percent.

“This is a good combined rate,” Funderburk said. “Since we sold, the issue rates have moved up, so we were glad to get it in when we did.”

At a previous meeting, Funderburk reported that the city has an A+ bond rating, which he said was good for a city the size of Andalusia.

With the council’s approval, the bonds were scheduled to be closed on Friday, June 24, meaning funds would be available for the projects at that time.

The funds will also assist the city in its responsibility for economic development projects, including efforts involving Covington Casket, the Prestwood Building, and acquisition of the Tisdale property.

The approval of the bond issue involved both a resolution and an ordinance. In order to vote on the ordinance, the city council voted to suspend the rules, allowing for a vote after the first reading. Both the resolution and ordinance passed by unanimous vote.

The projects being funded through the bond issue are among those the current administration set as priorities in 2021.

Prior to the vote, a public hearing was opened in regard to the bond issue. No one spoke against, nor in favor, of the bond issue during that hearing.

Other items discussed by the council included:

  • approving the abatement of six nuisance properties;
  • approving a $3,000 donation for the Alabama High School Rodeo Association State Finals, which were held at the Covington Arena June 2-5.

The mayor reminded the public about the Fourth of July parade, sponsored by the Daughters of the American Revolution, to begin at 10 a.m. Music and fireworks will be held that evening at the Kiwanis Center with gates opening at 5:30 and music starting at 6 p.m. There will be free watermelon while it lasts. Fireworks will begin at dusk.

The next scheduled meeting for the city council will be Tuesday, July 5, 6 p.m. at city hall. A work session begins at 5:30. The public is invited to attend.