Georgetown council nears decision on bond refinancing

Georgetown council nears decision on bond refinancing

GEORGETOWN — City officials moved one step closer on Monday to refinancing two sets of bonds to take advantage of lower interest rates on the debt.

City officials held a public hearing on the proposed refinancing just before the regular Georgetown City Council meeting on Monday. There were 30 people in the audience, but the only question asked concerned a third set of bonds, from 1997.

The city has about $2.6 million in two debts — a 2003 loan from the Illinois Environmental Protection Agency to improve water system infrastructure, and a set of bonds that were sold in 2004 to pay for the remodeling of the city hall and the senior center / public library. Council members hope to refinance the two debts into a single, lower-interest debt with the same final repayment — 12 years from now — and still save about $75,000 in interest payments.

Now that the public hearing has been held, council members could vote as early as Aug. 19 to issue the bonds, although they may wait until later to see if interest rates go even lower.

The council plans to pay off the remaining $100,000 owed on a third set of bonds — dating back to 1997 — in February.

In other business, the council accepted the resignation of Ward 1 Alderman Gerald McPhillips, who will be moving out of the area.

McPhillips, who was appointed to the board last December to replace Cathy Jenkins, said he was thankful for the opportunity to serve the people of Georgetown.

Mayor Kay Sanders said she expected to name a replacement to the Ward 1 seat at the Aug. 19 meeting, and would seek council approval of her appointment.

Council members voted to have the worn-out motor of the 12-year-old backup generator at the water pumping station near Cayuga, Ind. rebuilt by Crosspoint of Indianapolis at a cost of about $14,000. A new motor for the generator would cost about $38,000, said Streets and Alleys Superintendent Tony Ellis.

Council members voted to change the amount charged as a penalty to those who have had their water service shut off for non-payment.

Alderman Sam Payne said that, in order to have the water service turned back on after it has been shut off, customers must catch up their overdue bill and must pay a penalty charge, which had been set at $25 for the first time the water service was shut off, $40 for the second time, and $60 for each time after that.

Payne said that, to simplify things, customers will be charged a $40 penalty every time their water service is disconnected and then has to be turned on again.

The head football coach at Georgetown-Ridge Farm High School asked the council to supply water to an irrigation machine at the school for use on the practice field.

Josh Cavanaugh said watering the grass on the field will soften it, and reduce the likelihood of players receiving concussions from the ground. He said the machine the district recently purchased needs a larger water source than a garden hose, like a fire hydrant or a separate tap into the water main.

Council members said they would consider the request. Alderman Adam Hart said the council may also look into lowering the water rate charged to the school district in the future.

Council members also voted to pay Service Termite & Pest Control of Danville $1,620 for treating a termite infestation at the police station, and said they would seek pest-control bids for all the city buildings.

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