Council to change bond amount to include sales tax revenue

Owner occupied rehabilitation grant application request approved

Grant City Council members discussed the procedures and paybacks needed for bonds being sought for the pool project during their Aug. 14 meeting. 

Tobin Buchanan of First National Capital Markets presented information on the potential bond for the new pool and bathhouse. 

At the July 31 meeting, the council voted to approve and place on the ballot a $1.4 million bond. They also voted to have a bond counsel review a second bond that would be paid by the city’s one-half percent sales and use tax. 

Buchanan explained the sales tax revenue would fall under a general obligation bond, therefore one bond of a greater amount would need to be presented to voters. 

He said the council needs to decide on a not-to-exceed amount to place on the ballot, and hopefully the entire amount is not needed.

The ballot question will need to be crafted in a way that people will understand that a portion of the amount will be paid by sales tax revenue. Buchanan said he also helps with informing and educating residents through mailings, meetings, etc.

“You’re going to want to really be able to show people: this is what paying back the debt service looks like. This is what it will look like for you as a homeowner,” he said. 

The sales tax revenue is expected to pay $900,000 of the debt service. 

Council member Andrea Brueggeman asked Buchanan to confirm that even if $2.4 million is approved, only the amount needed after subtracting sales tax revenue and donations is what is actually borrowed. Buchanan confirmed this was correct. 

He said the city can wait as long as they want before requesting the bonds. The ballot question is simply asking the public to give their authority to issue up to that amount at some point. 

Bond impact on homeowners

Buchanan explained that the city’s valuation is $53 million, which generates $5,300 in debt service for each penny levied. Each penny levied costs a homeowner $10 more annually on a $100,000 home.

He offered an example that if $1 million of the bonds had to be paid back by homeowners, the annual debt service would be $70,000 and require a levy of 13 cents. 

A 13-cent levy would cost a $100,000 homeowner $130 more in taxes per year. 

The council is contemplating the amount to place on the ballot and will vote on the resolution at the next meeting. They have until Sept. 4 to get the issue on the November ballot. 

OOR request approved

Amy Thelander of Southwest Nebraska Community Betterment Corporation (SWNCBC) made a request to apply for Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) funds for the purpose of implementing Owner Occupied Rehabilitation (OOR) in Grant. 

SWNCBC recently completed rehabilitation on five homes in the Grant community with Regional OOR Trust Funds. The City of Grant has never had CDBG OOR funding. 

Thelander said CDBG has about $3 million in funding this year and she feels it would be a great opportunity for the city to apply for some of that funding. 

She said there are 17 city residents on the waiting list, and recommended applying for $252,000 to assist eight homeowners. Each home would be eligible for $24,999, and request for proposals would be accepted for general and housing administrators.

The council approved the request unanimously. 

Budget and absences

The 2018-19 proposed budget was discussed, with City Clerk/Treasurer Jessie Faber fielding questions from council members. 

Mayor Mike Wyatt and City Superintendent Dana Harris were absent. This is the fourth consecutive meeting Harris has missed since last attending the June 12 meeting. At the July 31 meeting, Wyatt stated sickness and vacation contributed to her absences. Harris told the Tribune she was absent on Aug. 14 to attend grade school orientation with her son. 

Council member Pierce stated that Auditor Terry Galloway is expected to attend the next meeting to discuss the budget.

Garbage truck disagreement

Included on the agenda was a resolution to declare the old garbage truck excess property and list it for sale. Councilman Matt Greenwood, however, had reservations. He questioned why they would sell it if it’s not costing them anything. 

Councilman Pierce asked Greenwood if he wanted to put a time limit on it or if he wanted to hold it forever.

“I have no problem holding it forever,” said Greenwood. “I’m not in any hurry to sell it.”

He moved to table it until after the first of the year. Pierce said he wouldn’t table it for that long. Brueggeman said she saw no reason to keep it. 

With lack of second to table it, the issue was continued to the next meeting. 

Other items discussed

• Angela Gloy was unanimously approved as the grant writer for the pool project. She said she would not charge for her services.

• CJ Poltack of West Central Nebraska Development District presented information for potential grants, funding and a timeline for the new pool. 

• Water used in July totaled over 13.4 million gallons, down nearly 17.7 million gallons from July 2017. 

The Grant Tribune-Sentinel

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Grant NE 69140