Van Buren bond sales move forward

by The City Wire staff ([email protected]) 85 views 

The Van Buren City Council authorized the issuance of Sales and Use Tax Bonds on Monday night (Aug. 27) at the city’s Municipal Complex. The maximum principal amount of the bonds totaled $11.7 million, which will be spread out over a two-year period. 

The first $10 million of bonds will be delivered to trustee Citizens Bank after closing on Oct. 2, said Kevin Faught, vice-president of Stephens, Inc., which served as underwriter for the transaction.

The bond offering, which led to the City Council’s action on Monday, took place last Thursday (Aug. 23), Van Buren Mayor Bob Freeman said.

“Basically, they (Stephens, Inc.) got the commitments from their investors, and their particular rates. We agreed with those rates and that we are going forward with this,” Freeman said.

The rate, Faught added, will be 2.11%, with payoff expected at “the end of 2019 or early 2020.”

Final ordinance 15-2012, which was approved in a unanimous 4-0 vote breaks the $11.7 million capital improvement disbursement down as follows.
• $2.9 million (includes the new fire department facility)
• $4.4 million (includes the new police department facility)
• $2.65 million (includes the new senior center, safe shelter, and associated demolition)
• $1.75 million (includes park and recreational facilities and any land acquisition, parking, equipment, lighting and utility improvements)

The amount devoted to the construction fund for these projects will total $10.3 million across the two-year period with $8.833 million coming this year and the remainder in 2013, Faught said.

Regarding which of the projects Van Buren residents can expect to happen first, Freeman confirmed they would “run parallel.”

“The first thing we’ll probably end up doing is buying land for the police station. That’ll probably be our first move, to make that land purchase. We may also purchase some additional land around the senior center. We haven’t signed any contracts with the architects, and are just now advertising for a construction manager,” Freeman said.

However, the City Council did take one additional step forward with the senior center and safe shelter Monday night, approving unanimously a resolution recommending MAHG Architecture, Inc., for design and project oversight of the two planned structures.

Sales and Use Tax collections for the tax increase will begin in January 2013, but “won’t be deposited until March,” Freeman said.

On July 10, about 70% of Van Buren voters approved a 1% bump, half of which is temporary and will be devoted to the aforementioned capital improvement projects. In seven years, this portion of the tax will sunset unless voters vote for it to continue.

The remaining half will be a permanent addition to the city’s Sales and Use Tax and will be used to fund operations for the new facilities.