Marion wants to refinance bonds

Marion wants to refinance bonds

Money will fund millions in capital improvements

Marion will ask voters to approve refinancing some old bonds for another 30 years in order to pay for a new round of capital improvements, including for a railroad overpass.

City Council voted on an ordinance to send the proposal to the voters for a special election which will held on March 14, 2017.

The bonds were issued in the early 1980s and have been refinanced periodically, the last time being in 2006, and are paid through an existing one cent sales tax.

Mayor Frank Fogleman said refinancing the bonds will raise $16 million, and if approved will be used to build the overpass, more street work, a new water department office, improvements to the ball fields, walking trails, a new Fire Station No. 1, and for computers, radios, and a storage shed at the police department.

“This one will be for $16 million — assuming everything is approved,” Fogleman said. “It is not a new tax. It is an extension of an existing one that everyone has been paying.”

Voters agreed to refinance the bonds in 1996 for $5 million and in 2006 for $9 million. Both of those measures passed with over 80 percent in support.

The city used the money from the 2006 bond refinancing to build Fire Station No. 3, a new police station, an office at the animal shelter, a refueling station at the city shop, street overlays, and a water tank on Marion Lake Road.

Voters will be presented with seven separate questions to approve: $12.185 million for street improve- ments; $2.385 million for the Fire Department; $1.075 million for parks; $815,000 for water projects; $635,000 for police; $360,000 for sewer; and $220,000 for the library.

“The overpass is the driving issue,” Fogleman said.

“And everything on here will have to be bid and approved by the city council.” Councilman Bryan Jackson said he would like to see the city host a series of public meetings to inform the voters.

“The last one went over very well,” Jackson said.

“But we don’t know what this one is going to do. This is a lot of money and a big impact on out city. So we need to get out there and get this kicked off in the right direction.”

The city suffered a setback in 2014 when voters rejected a proposed one percent tax for economic development.

Fogleman said he will make himself available to speak to any civic or church group.

An separate informational meeting is already scheduled for January to discuss the proposed railroad overpass.

“We will offer to have public meetings with any civic or community group or Sunday school classes,” Fogleman said. “I will be happy to go and talk to them.”

By Mark Randall