Council members Jim Heigl, Walter Jacobson and Doug Murphree spoke in favor of issuing bonds to raise $2 million in funding and refinance a 2002 bond issue. The refinance could immediately reduce the city’s payment for this year on the previous outstanding bonds by $252,000.
Councilmen Manuell Smith and Ken Horn were not present for the session
Jacobson said he would like to see part of the money used to pay off the former Avondale Mills property purchased by the city. The debt on the property is approximately $750,000, not including interest.
“If we pull out (of the budget) what we were paying on that Avondale loan, take away the interest and the principle, that would put us (in surplus)” Jacobson said.
The funding from the bond issue would have to be earmarked, city clerk Patricia Carden said. Council members had suggested using the funding for road paving and for studies on the Avondale property to determine its best use.
Those changes plus other budget adjustments left them with a preliminary budget surplus of about $18,000. That included $15,000 per month to be placed into reserves for the city.
The council also discussed each group or organization that received funding from the city and what changes, if any, they would make from the previous year’s allocation. They had met with representatives from several of the groups at previous work sessions.
A 5 percent cut to the city schools’ Board of Education appropriation amount from last year was suggested. But the council decided on a cut of 2.5 percent at the request of Murphree, to approximately $739,000.
“I am not going to vote for a 5 percent cut to the board,” he said.
A 1 percent cut to funding for the B.B. Comer Library and Parks and Recreation Department was also agreed upon. Mayor Sam Wright asked the city clerk’s office staff to make the adjustments discussed in the meeting to present to the council at their next meeting, which may be scheduled for next week.
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