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City Council pleased with bond sale rates

Staff writer

Financial adviser Greg Vahrenberg of Piper Jaffray met with Hillsboro City Council members Thursday to explain an ordinance and resolution needing approval to sell bonds. The bond sale was required to refund work done at the Hillsboro Business Park and construction projects on Adams and First Street.

“Last year, our firm worked with the city on a negotiated sale,” Vahrenberg said. “This year we used a different method, a competitive sale with a bond rating process, and I’m pleased to report the city received an A- rating.”

Vahrenberg said the bond market experienced dramatic spikes in the past year, but current lows were not far off record lows for the past 50 years.

Bids for two bond sale packages were opened at 11 a.m. Thursday, and low bidders identified by Vahrenberg.

Bond 2011A, a tax increment bond payable first from TIFF funds at $345,000, was awarded to Central States Capital at a 2.76 percent interest rate.

Bond 2011B, a general obligation funds package at $1,6000,000, went to UMB at 2.67 percent.

“We were not expecting these favorable rates when we opened the bids,” City Administrator Larry Paine said. “We were expecting something around 3.0 percent, so this was like Christmas in this business.”

Vahrenberg said the bond market was volatile last week, ending soft and starting that way on Monday.

“The market was strong today,” he said. “I am glad we sold today rather than yesterday, or even last week.”

He added that the bonds were bank qualified which helped lower the interest rate for the sale, as the buyers benefited from a tax exemption status.

“Nearly all bonds bought today will likely be resold by the banks next week,” he said.

The council unanimously approved the bond sales ordinance and resolution.

Employees recognized for service

Two city employees were recognized for a combined 25 years of service by the League of Kansas Municipalities.

Mayor Delores Dalke presented gifts to City Clerk Jeanie Hellman as a reward for 15 years of service and to Fire Chief Ben Steketee, for 10 years.

Fire department business

Council members approved Steketee’s recommendation for the installation of firefighter Johnny Gilkey to service. Randy Welch resigned this month, leaving a position open on the 21-slot team.

Steketee also presented information about fire truck staging and showed a picture of possible configuration using the west bay at the former AMPI building on the north side of Hillsboro.

“We have another truck coming in that needs indoor storage,” Steketee said. “But the main reason we are talking about this is because we need to get the rescue truck in out of the ice and snow.”

If not stored under cover, keyholes on the truck’s storage boxes become difficult to open, causing possible delays in emergencies.

A brush truck, number two tanker, and rescue truck currently fill the city fire station garage. The ladder truck, a tanker truck, and an additional brush truck coming in could be stored at the AMPI facility if curbing that takes up parking space can be removed.

“It does cause a logistical problem because the firemen respond here to get their gear, and then have to get over there to get the trucks,” Steketee said. “Most of the time our fire tanker goes out manned by people in their street clothes.”

Council members were appreciative of Steketee’s work to get all fire vehicles under cover.

“This seems to be the best that we can do, under the circumstances,” Dalke said.

State sends water watch resolution

Paine outlined specific actions to be taken by the city since a letter was received from the Kansas Water Office issuing a “watch” order for the Marion Reservoir.

“We need to approve a resolution asking for the public’s assistance in conserving water usage,” he said.

According to Margaret Fast, Manager of the Kansas Water Office, Gov. Sam Brownback has declared the vast majority of the state to be in some stage of drought-emergency. Marion County Lake and Marion Reservoir are located in an area of emergency status.

“Water usage really isn’t a problem at this time of year,” Paine said. “But the goal of this water watch stage is to heighten awareness of the public on water conditions and to maintain the integrity of the water supply system.”

In other business:

  • A sewer-project change order for $2,000 was approved to use up grant funds allocated for the project.
  • The council heard that citizens and business owners in Hillsboro were still concerned about Internet services in city limits.
  • The council approved payment of vouchers for more than $240,000.

Last modified Dec. 8, 2011

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