Home Meeting notice Amarillo City Council Issues Bond Certificates for Sports Field Lighting Project | KAMR

Amarillo City Council Issues Bond Certificates for Sports Field Lighting Project | KAMR

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AMARILLO, Texas (KAMR/KCIT) — After a nearly two-hour conversation between Amarillo city officials as well as city council members, the council at Tuesday’s meeting approved the notice of plans to issue up to $7 million in bond certificates in a 4-to-1 vote, funding sports field lighting updates across the Parks and Recreation Department of the city.

According to previous reports from MyHighPlains.com, this comes after a lengthy conversation that took place at the last City Council meeting, with officials outlining the intention of which parks were to receive their grounds lighting upgrades. sport, at a cost of approximately $8.26 million. These parks include John Stiff Park Softball Complex and Football Fields and Southeast Park Softball and Football Complexes.

However, facility improvements at a few parks in low-to-moderate income areas, including the facilities at El Alamo Park, as well as the softball fields at Thompson Park and River Road Park, are expected to be eligible for funding through the second round of financing. the city will receive through the American Rescue Plan (ARP). Officials expect ARP funds to be able to cover just under a quarter of the total cost of the project.

Laura Storrs, chief financial officer for the city of Amarillo and deputy city manager, said a final approval to use bond certificates gives the city the ability to complete the entire project. ‘lighting. By issuing $7 million in certificates of obligation, Storrs pointed out that the city will be able to use ARP funds, as well as potential grants, for the project by issuing debt for the remaining amount, which would have an impact of approximately $0.004 on the city’s tax rate.

“So the action they took today is they asked us to go ahead and advertise the issuance of a bond certificate, which is a bond , a debt issue, not exceeding $7 million. What we’re going to do is…there will be a notice that will be in the newspaper and on the city’s website. It will show the date and time the council will take action,” Storrs told MyHighPlains.com after Tuesday’s meeting.

But approval of bond certificates must occur 45 days after the initial notice, Storrs said. If the council approves the use of bond certificates at the end of March, the city would not receive any funding until April, around the same time the city expects to receive its second tranche of ARP funds.

“In the meantime, we will go through the procurement process, to try to secure everything so that as soon as funding becomes available, we can start construction,” she said. “…We can just start to go full steam ahead and hopefully put those lights up sooner rather than later because we certainly know there are areas without lights right now and with some of the wind storms than we had recently, we lost more streetlights »

The majority of the board supported the Certificate of Bond approach for this project, as well as the use of ARP funds and potential grant funds. However, Place One board member Cole Stanley continued to express reservations about the bond certificate route, stressing that it should be an option of last resort. He encouraged council to review the more than $8 million the city has set aside for capital projects, which officials say has already been allocated to a number of specific capital projects.

Stanley also offered an option to present this to Amarillo voters as a general bond of obligation, which he said he thought voters would support. Stanley said he did not feel comfortable with the council issuing the debt itself.

“For me, it’s a red line. I don’t have the ability to support a CO when we have full cash in hand, even for this project which I fully support,” Stanley said. “…The big problem for me is that it bypasses our taxpayers by not giving them the opportunity to weigh in on it. I think that would be supported.

In response to questions from Stanley, board members said at the meeting that making a general obligation bond would only delay the needed project.

“Voters elect us to make decisions like this,” Amarillo Mayor Ginger Nelson said at Tuesday’s meeting. “It’s a small impact on the tax rate. This is a decision that has a huge impact on quality of life and has been delayed. We had no lights last summer. It will take us a year to install them, and in the meantime we have the safety problem of old poles being knocked down on windy days. It is something that is urgent from a temporal point of view. This is why citizens elect us.

In this case, bond certificates are used to replace something that was due to be replaced by a municipal service, Storrs said.

“It replaces something we already had that is well past its useful life,” she said. “These, they are beyond repair at this point… By replacing them, we will upgrade them because now there is new technology, like LED lights, that will actually save energy.”

Michael Kashuba, director of the city’s parks and recreation department, previously told MyHighPlains.com that this sports lighting project is a priority for the department, helping the city of Amarillo as a whole.

“It gives you the opportunity to run more tournaments. We’ve had a lot of inconsistent lighting, so on some of our ballparks the lights will go out randomly. It not only provides that consistency for the user but it also provides an opportunity to do more economic development,” Kashuba previously said. So making sure that we retain that capacity for those associations and also from an economic point of view for the city.

At the March 22 meeting of the Amarillo City Council, the council is expected to vote to consider the ordinance authorizing bond certificates for the sports field lighting project.