Van Buren continues with bond project work

by The City Wire staff ([email protected]) 94 views 

The Van Buren City Council approved the sale of additional bonds to fund capital improvement projects across the city at Monday's council meeting.

According to Mayor Bob Freeman, the total amount of bonds issued for the projects, which include new police and fire departments and a new senior center, was nearly $12 million.

Freeman said the bonds were sold in two increments in order to keep interest rates favorable.

"If you do it $10 million or less, you get bank-qualified and you get a better rate," Freeman said. "We sold the majority of the bonds last year to keep that below $10 million and we sold the remainder this year to get the best rate."

The interest rate for bonds issued last year were 2.11 percent, while the almost $1.7 million bond approved by the council Monday had an interest rate just below 1.97 percent.

Freeman said with the low interest rates, the city could possible pay down the debt sooner than expected if there were an unexpected rise in sales tax revenue.

"Right now, we project that we'll pay the bonds off in seven years," he said. "With the [low interest] rates and if the sales tax revenue increases, we'll be able to pay those off early."

In other business, the council approved a resolution to purchase two lots adjacent to the former Sherman's Grocery.

The new police department will be built at the former Sherman's store and by purchasing the two adjoining lots, Freeman said the city allowed itself room for growth in the future.

Freeman also delivered his State of the City address during Monday's meeting.